President Cyril Ramaphosa discusses the ANC’s policy on land with former president Kgalema Motlanthe, who led a probe into land claims.
Traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal rushed to defend King Goodwill Zwelithini and dared those who want to take Ingonyama Trust land to “bring it on”.

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe was lambasted at an event in Umzinyathi on Friday to celebrate the millionth man in the province circumcised.

Speaker after speaker criticised Motlanthe who recently said tribal leaders behaved like village tin-pot dictators.

Motlanthe chaired a high-level panel assembled by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the land reform programme.

Leading the charge was Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, who said Motlanthe was provoking traditional leaders. 

He cried during his speech as he vented his anger.

Inkosi Mqoqi Ngcobo said: “Those who want to take our land must take it and they will see what we are made of. We are tired of being provoked.”

Afterwards Chiliza said he had cried because Motlanthe was “stirring a war”.

“We don’t want any blood to be shed in our name so the ANC must condemn Motlanthe before it’s too late,” he said.

Chiliza warned that the elections next year might be marred by chaos if the ANC-led government went ahead with expropriating tribal land.

He accused Motlanthe of not consulting with them before tabling his report to the Cabinet.

Chiliza said that the king’s subjects will fight with their arms and limbs to protect their king.

Like Chiliza, King Zwelithini, who was keynote speaker at the event, warned of war should the ANC proceed with expropriating tribal land.

The ANC adopted its expropriation of land without compensation policy at its December conference prompting a tug-of-war between those who supported it and those against.

“I don’t want to see a war in this province.

"I’m pleading with the government not to take the land that belongs to people from rural villages because they will retaliate and blood will be shed. I don’t want to see that happening,” said King Zwelithini.

Like most of the speakers, Premier Willies Mchunu also expressed his concerns about the manner in which Motlanthe had handled the issue.

He said as provincial leaders they would be also taking the matter up with national leadership.

Weekend Argus