King Goodwill Zwelithini has for the first time vented his anger about the recommendations that the Ingonyama Trust Board either be scrapped or its powers reviewed to give rural people of KwaZulu-Natal powers over the land they occupy.
The king was addressing hundreds of women during the fourth day of the Isivivane ceremony held at his Khangela Palace outside Nongoma, Zululand, yesterday.
Among the recommendations of the presidential advisory panel set up by President Cyril Ramaphosa was that the trust should be stripped of its powers to control rural land on the king’s behalf.
The king is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust Board, which is reportedly in charge of 29.67% of the province’s rural land.
The king said he was dismayed when he returned from Britain late last month to be welcomed by the panel’s recommendations.
He said members of the panel did not understand the living conditions of his people.
“I was never consulted about what I heard on my return. I hear that your land is going to subdivided and handed to people, of which some of them are captured as there is a state capture commission.
“I am happy that former premier (Willies) Mchunu said last year that there had been no discussions about the matter when he was the premier,” he said.
“I have not heard Premier Sihle Zikalala commenting about the matter. I am waiting for whoever is going to talk to tell me straight,” he said.
He said the recommendations were shocking.
“Even if I am so bad, you cannot be told to abandon your kingdom where there is no theft. They want you to be under people who have been found by courts and investigations to be men and women who cannot be trusted,” he said.
He said while he was still looking at the recommendations, he realised that “these people don’t know you”.
“They think that you are sheep who are only good when it comes to votes. They don’t know that our fathers’ land is yours. It is for your children and your husbands,” said the king.
He called on the women to support him in defending his land “because to me you are not voters”.
He said he was being provoked.
“As my followers, don’t fall asleep. You must know that our kingdom will collapse during our time if we accept this. History will judge us harshly,” the king said.
He called on young people not to be tempted with money to give away their land.
“They will be nothing without land. Our ancestors protected this land for our benefit. We are also defending this land for our children. Therefore young people should work with me from now on.
“Whites placed a bag of money and a bag of soil in front of my grandfather, King Solomon, and asked him to choose, and he chose soil over money.
“My father (King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe) also did not accept white people’s lifestyle. How can I abandon my ancestors?”
He warned that if the land was taken away from the trust, rural people would be subjected to paying rates for the property, just as city residents had to pay rates even though they had paid for their properties in cash instead of bonds.
“This land cannot be taken away during our time. I will talk a lot about this during Umkhosi Womhlanga on September 6.
“For now I am giving all sectors of traditional leadership time to digest this insult and provocation,” he said.