IMBIZO OF THE ZULU NATION
ON THE QUESTION OF LAND HELD UNDER THE INGONYAMA TRUST
INTRODUCTION OF HIS MAJESTY THE KING
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER TO THE ZULU MONARCH AND NATION
INKOSI OF THE BUTHELEZI CLAN
AND PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
Ulundi: 4 July 2018
Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered in isiZulu – please note that this is the official English translation.
His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu; Members of the Royal Family and Members of the Royal Council; the Chairperson and Executive of the Ingonyama Trust Board; AmaKhosi and izinduna from across our Kingdom; representatives of Government; religious leaders and leaders in business; proud members of the Zulu Nation –
For 50 years His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu has reigned over our Kingdom, without having to wage a single war. Never once has the battle cry “Usuthu!” echoed over the hills and valleys of our Kingdom since the son of King Cyprian Bhekuzulu Nyangayezizwe ka Solomon ascended to the throne. The spears of the King’s warriors have seen no blood and our nation has thrived in peace.
We give thanks for this, for the memory of war still lives in our nation’s psyche. We have heard the past retold by our fathers and grandfathers, of how their fathers fought in the Anglo-Zulu War which saw the defeat of our nation and the fracturing of our kingdom. My own grandfather was injured at the Battle of Isandlwana and his brother was killed. After Isandlwana, the Battle of Ulundi was guaranteed.
The British Imperial Army had never suffered defeat on the scale of Isandlwana. In response, they fortified their regiments, sending a flood of heavily armed reinforcements for the second invasion of Zululand. On 4 July 1879, Ulundi was attacked. The King’s warriors lay slaughtered and wounded, as the British celebrated the final victory of the Anglo-Zulu War.
Lord Chelmsford ordered the Royal Kraal at Ulundi to be burned and for days the capital of Zululand was engulfed in flames. All that was left were ashes; and the unconquerable spirit of a conquered nation.
What followed was more than a century of struggle, to reunify the Zulu nation and to see our kingdom and our monarch restored to full recognition. We suffered the imprisonment and exile of our kings. We suffered colonialism and apartheid. We suffered the refusal to allow His Majesty our King to participate in democratic negotiations.
But despite all of this, the Zulu nation remains. We still have a monarch on the throne of King Cetshwayo. There is a king on the throne of King Shaka.
Today we have gathered in response to the call of our monarch, because a new threat has arisen that we must face. The date for this Imbizo was deliberately chosen to coincide with the 139th anniversary of the Battle of Ulundi. This date is significant, for our nation rose from the ashes that covered this place, and we are able to rise again, even under fire.
I want to be very clear that I am not beating the drums of war. As a nation we take pride in the fact that our monarch reigns in a time of peace. We do not want war. We do not want violence. We do not want bloodshed. What we want is to have our legitimate right to our land respected. We want a government led by the ANC to acknowledge that our King has authority over the land, that traditional leaders have delegated authority to administer the land, and that an attempt by the State to expropriate our land is not only unconstitutional, but against natural justice.
The Constitution can be changed. Legislation can be amended. But that will not make the expropriation of our land right, acceptable or morally justified. Our identity is tied to the land. To remove our land from the custodianship of the King is to rip the soul from the Zulu nation. Our kingdom was fractured once before, after the Anglo-Zulu War. It was artificially divided into 13 kinglets, sowing the seeds of inevitable division.
Generations of colonial conquest and racial dispossessions left the Zulu nation with bits and pieces of our original land. In 1994, as we stood on the threshold of democracy, all of this land was set to automatically transfer ownership to the State, for it was not privately owned, but rather communal land administered under indigenous and customary law.
As the Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Government, I therefore tabled in the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly draft legislation to place all this land in a trust under the custodianship of His Majesty the King, so that it could remain as communal land administered under indigenous and customary law.
The Bill went through every stage of the legislative process, in broad daylight and under full media scrutiny. It was published in the Government Gazette and was even given personally to several leaders of the ANC at the Skukuza Summit, so that they would be aware of it.
The KwaZulu Legislative Assembly was well within its rights to enact such legislation and it neither needed nor asked for permission from the apartheid government. The Ingonyama Trust Act was the last piece of legislation enacted by the KwaZulu Government. A few days later, the first democratic elections were held, and the land belonging to the Zulu nation remained under the authority of the Zulu monarch.
A few years later, the Ingonyama Trust Act was comprehensively debated in the KwaZulu Natal Legislature and in Parliament. It underwent several amendments, to the full satisfaction of every party.
Throughout that process, no one disputed the facts that (1) the King holds authority over the land, and (2) the King should hold this authority. Speaking in the debate, on 11 March 1997, the Hon. Dr ZL Mkhize, the then Minister of Health, said the following about the Ingonyama legislation –
“(This) makes it possible for this Province to move ahead with the programme of development… I wish to confirm that we have accepted and supported that the King should be the Chairperson of the Board or the representative of the King. Because as we all are agreed on the proposition that all the land belongs to the King it should not appear to be only said by word of mouth but it should be seen that the Monarch is inclusive in the Act.”
The Ingonyama Trust Act has remained legitimately in place for 24 years. It has been recognized and respected by the Constitutional Court.
But now, there are calls to scrap the Act or to amend it in a way that would transfer the land of the Zulu nation, to Government, to be administered not by AmaKhosi, but by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform. Our King would be stripped of his authority and prevented from exercising his royal duty as custodian of the land. He would effectively be reduced to a ceremonial figure within a kingdom that is no longer a kingdom.
This call against the Ingonyama Trust Act emanated from the High Level Panel on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change. But the Report of the Panel was preceded by a policy decision of the ANC. At its 5th National Policy Conference in July 2017, the ANC noted (and I quote) “…the KZN ANC has been moving for the repeal of Ingonyama Trust”.
So the Panel’s recommendation was not unforeseen. The Panel was chaired by the ANC’s former Secretary General and former Head of State, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe. It had failed, in its deliberations, to engage with the Ingonyama Trust Board, with His Majesty the King, with the National House of Traditional Leaders, with the Provincial Houses or even with CONTRALESA. It made no attempt to speak to the originator of the Ingonyama Trust Act to better understand why the Act is in place and why it is needed.
When the Panel’s far-reaching recommendations became public, the Ingonyama Trust Board invited former President Motlanthe to address the Board and AmaKhosi to explain the Panel’s reasoning. But the invitation was never accepted. Instead, during the ANC’s Land Summit in May 2018, Mr Motlanthe launched a scathing attack on traditional leadership, calling traditional leaders “village tin-pot dictators”.
Not a single leader in the ANC spoke up. No one contradicted Mr Motlanthe or called him to task. A few days later, during Questions to the Deputy President in Parliament, Deputy President David Mabuza was confronted with Mr Motlanthe’s accusation against traditional leaders. He neither contradicted nor corrected it, but simply confirmed that a draft Bill is in place to remove land that is administered by traditional leaders.
Last week, I was invited by the National House of Traditional Leaders to attend a Lekgotla in Durban and to speak on the issue of land as a heritage. The House invited the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services to speak on “The implications of Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution in relation to the powers and functions of traditional leadership and the process towards the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution”.
I therefore cut short a meeting of my Party’s National Executive Committee to attend the Lekgotla on the day that the Minister was due to speak. But the Minister never arrived.
During my own remarks, I recalled the commitment of an ad hoc Cabinet Committee under the leadership of then Deputy President Zuma, in November 2000. In discussions with the Coalition of Traditional Leaders, the Cabinet Committee agreed that Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution had to be amended to enshrine and protect the role, powers and functions of traditional leaders, in the face of the Municipal Structures Act. But that commitment was never fulfilled.
During the Lekgotla I reminded the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize that when President Ramaphosa addressed the National House of Traditional Leaders in Cape Town, in his presence, I stated that they seem to regard Traditional Leaders as morons. President Ramaphosa reacted almost emotionally denying this, and said that they don’t regard Traditional Leaders as morons. As I had raised the undertaking to amend the Constitution, to restore the role, powers and functions of Amakhosi, President Ramaphosa promised that they will engage with Amakhosi, and expressed a reluctance to amend the Constitution.
He said there is no stand-off between Government and traditional leaders, and that nothing has yet been finalised regarded expropriation of land in traditional areas.
I responded by reminding him of the Resolution of the ANC during its 54th National Conference in December 2017. The ANC resolved (and I quote) to “Democratize control and administration of areas under communal land tenure.” Regarding the means to achieve their goals, they said (and again I quote) “Expropriation of land without compensation should be among the key mechanisms…”
Moreover, the call to scrap the Ingonyama Trust Act came from no less a leader than the former Secretary General of the ANC and the former Head of State Mr Motlanthe. Should we not then take it seriously? Again I question why traditional leaders are being treated like morons. In February this year at the official opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders by President Ramaphosa, I stated in my remarks that the government is taking us as AmaKhosi to be morons. President Ramaphosa resentfully denied that they are taking AmaKhosi as morons. He did not address the issue of promises that were made to amend Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution. In fact said words to the effect that they are reluctant to do so.
Inkosi Patekile Holomisa, the President of CONTRALESA, also spoke quite frankly during the Lekgotla, suggesting that we re-establish a Coalition of Traditional Leaders to force Government to respect us as they did in 2000. He is right that they showed enough respect for the Coalition of Traditional Leaders to engage us through a Cabinet Committee and even to commit to constitutional amendments. But somehow that respect did not extend to actually doing what they said they would do.
In light of all that is happening, on 11 June 2018, His Majesty the King called a meeting of the Ingonyama Trust Board with AmaKhosi to try to find a way forward. It was resolved that we will approach the courts to challenge the Panel’s Report, as well as sections of the KwaZulu Natal Traditional Leadership Act of 2005. The court must clarify the powers of the King and specifically who has authority between the King and Government.
The King undertook to see President Ramaphosa on this issue. We want Government to meet eye to eye with the Zulu nation to tell us about their land reform plans. The people of KwaZulu Natal have expressed discontent over plans to expropriate communal land. The Ingonyama Trust Board is against it. The Provincial House of Traditional Leaders is against it. Even the Premier of the Province, an ANC Premier, has spoken in my presence against taking such a decision.
But until the President himself speaks to us, uncertainty will remain. Government cannot shy away from explaining itself. Our nation deserves answers. We deserve at least that level of respect. But in truth, we deserve more than that. We deserve to retain our land and to enjoy the authority of our monarch.
The Zulu nation has the utmost respect for our King. Let us listen now as His Majesty speaks to us about this intractable threat to our identity, dignity and cohesion. It is my honour to introduce His Majesty the King of the Zulu nation.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539