President Cyril Ramaphosa.
PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa is prepared to meet King Goodwill Zwelithini to discuss the fate of the Ingonyama Trust Board, which is at a risk of being repealed by the national Parliament, said his spokesperson Khusela Diko.

However, Diko said Ramaphosa did not have the power to intervene to save the trust since it was before Parliament for review.

Zwelithini wants Ramaphosa to appear before him to explain why the trust was under attack following former president Kgalema Motlanthe’s high-level panel recommendation that the Ingonyama Trust Act be repealed.

“We are not aware of the request (from the king), however, the president welcomed the engagement with anybody including the king on matters relating to land restitution. He welcomes such a meeting.

“The president has not commented on Motlanthe’s recommendation because it is still before Parliament,” said Diko.

Zwelithini’s legal adviser and chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, said yesterday that the king’s office was drafting a letter inviting Ramaphosa to a meeting.

“The letter to be sent to the president very soon is being prepared as we speak,” said Ngwenya.

He said if the government failed to resolve the issue of the Ingonyama Trust Board the king would approach the high court to prevent his land from being expropriated by the government. He said the king’s fundraising campaign for legal fees had received positive responses from his supporters.

The king, during the official opening of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in February, appealed to any “legitimate” Zulu to each donate R5 or more for the legal battle he intended launching against Parliament if it resolved to repeal the Ingonyama Trust Act.

“Although we don’t have figures for now, last time we checked people were contributing.

“People are as concerned, and want to know what is happening (with the future of the trust). People do not want to live with uncertainty,” said Ngwenya.

The king is a sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust Board, which owns 2.8million hectares of tribal land in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zwelithini on June 11 told traditional leaders in Ulundi that he was seeking a meeting with Ramaphosa.

“I need to speak to the president urgently, so that he explains why it is that when we are talking about land this one (Ingonyama) is targeted - our land is fertile, that is why they are provoking us.

“Today there are people who want to tell us that our land will be taken.They are abusing their power.”

The king and traditional leaders in the province were infuriated by Motlanthe’s recommendation that the trust be dissolved and the land surrendered to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Zwelithini described Motlanthe’s recommendation as an attack on the Zulu nation.

“We are being attacked by democratic leaders whom we elected,” he said.

Following the recommendation, Zwelithini had asked to have a meeting with Motlanthe in Durban.

“The meeting (with Motlanthe) did not take place because he (Motlanthe) said he had handed the matter to Parliament since his high-level panel had been dissolved,” said Ngwenya.