Your land is safe, Zweli Mkhize assures traditional leaders

18 November 2018 - 17:27 By JEFF WICKS AND LWANDILE BHENGU
Cogta minister Zweli Mkhize has moved to allay fears of traditional leaders over land.
Cogta minister Zweli Mkhize has moved to allay fears of traditional leaders over land.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali/Sowetan

Addressing the contentious land question has been the central theme of the ANC’s weekend campaign blitz in KwaZulu-Natal, with cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) minister Zweli Mkhize on Sunday moving to allay fears of traditional leaders — at the same time trying to secure their loyalty when it comes time to head to the polls.

The role of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and the tribal leaders in administering vast tracts of ancestral land remains under debate.

Moves to dissolve the Ingonyama Trust and cede thousands of hectares of traditional land to the state had raised the hackles of Zwelithini, who earlier this year issued a call to arms to defend the traditional land.

“I want to start with this land issue … we agree that land is a big issue for black people,” said Mkhize on Sunday.

“There is no need to worry about your land because it's safe. There were conversations recently that made the chiefs think their land will be taken. I want to make it clear that it's not the case,” he said.

Mkhize was referring to a report by the high-level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and Fundamental Change, which recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act should be repealed or amended‚ and the Ingonyama Trust should be collapsed.

Zwelithini is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust.

“It [the report] wasn’t something we accepted as the ANC. It was a report we knew was being tabled in parliament. We made it clear to the king at the meeting we had to discuss the Ingonyama Trust,” he said.

“This year we want to encourage a partnership between government and tribal leaders on the issue of farming. We want a programme where in each district we have a centre where people who need help with farming can go,” he added. 

Mkhize touched on the autonomy of Zulu rule and the powers and functions of the amaKhosi.

“We need to fix and address the powers and functions of the chiefs. We have started that process and have a team to get the chiefs to work with Cogta to discuss this matter,” he added.