Mkhize reiterates Ramaphosa’s assurances on Ingonyama Trust land

Zweli Mkhize met with Amakhosi from the eThekwini region as a part of the ANC’s Thuma Mina campaign ahead of the 2019 elections.

Cooperative Governance Minister  Zweli Mkhize. Picture: @NationalCoGTA/Twitter.

DURBAN - Cooperative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize has reiterated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assurances that the land under the Ingonyama Trust will not be expropriated by the ruling party.

Mkhize met with Amakhosi from the eThekwini region as a part of the ANC’s Thuma Mina campaign ahead of the 2019 elections.

The issue of land has become a sticky point for traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal, since the party’s December resolution to expropriate land without compensation, which was initially thought to affect the Ingonyama Trust.

Ramaphosa has since had to clarify with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is the sole trustee of Ingonyama, that the nearly three million hectares of land will remain in the hands of black people.

ANC NEC member Mkhize started off Sunday morning's meeting by allaying any possible fears by traditional leaders that their role in this constitutional democracy will be diminished.

He has told Amakhosi that government remains committed to addressing their concerns ahead of 2019 and beyond.

While the media has not been allowed to form part of the open discussions between the two, provincial ANC spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has conceded that the influence these traditional leaders have over their communities

“As the ANC it would be very naive if we dismissed the role and authority that Amakhosi have in our rural communities.”

With KwaZulu-Natal largely having rural voters, traditional leaders play an important role in providing support to political parties to increase their vote ahead of elections.

This is not the first time the ANC has had to clarify its policy position to ensure healthy relations between itself and Amakhosi.

In 2000, then President Thabo Mbeki faced pressure a month before elections to amend the Municipal Structures Act, or deal with calls from traditional leaders to rural communities not to vote for the ANC.

Traditional leaders at the time had expressed concern that the newly demarcated municipal boundaries would infringe on their autonomy in traditional areas.

This year Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini threatened that all hell would break loose if the ANC pushed ahead with expropriating land under the Ingonyama Trust even stoking discussions around KwaZulu-Natal becoming an independent state.

Despite this, Simelane-Zulu denies that relations between the ANC and Amakhosi have been tense in recent times.

'We are not worried about our campaign in rural areas because the Amakhosi that we talk to are not blackmailing the ANC when they raise the issues that they are raising. But they talk to the ANC and say, 'Can the ANC please intervene to clarify the different matters.''

Meanwhile, the DA in the province is also cosying up traditional leaders in the province, with its premier candidate Zwakele Mncwango sharing that the party met with leaders of the Shembe church.

Mncwango says there were discussions around Shembe’s ongoing challenges regarding spaces of worship in and around Ethekwini.

This follows the eThekwini Municipality’s invasion unit demolished a Shembe Church Structure in Thornwood area in ward 13.

The religious grouping has millions of congregant with significant number of congregants who hail from KwaZulu-Natal.

Mncwango says the DA has since arranged a meeting with municipal manager Sipho Nzuza to discuss this matter.

'People must not be discriminated against because of their preferred religion. We will engage with Nzuza on this critical issue with the hope that just as other churches are given space to worship, the Shembe church is accorded the same rights.'

Mncwango says the Shembe delegation also raised challenges of schoolchildren who have been denied the opportunity to write their final exams due to their refusal to cut their hair because of their religion.