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Impasse over Ingonyama Trust Board continues even after Didiza had meeting with Zulu King

Durban – The impasse over the appointment of the new board of directors of the Ingonyama Trust Board continues, with threats that the matter may end up in court if the government insists on ramming through its preferred candidates.

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IOL understands that a meeting between the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, and representatives of King Misuzulu on Tuesday in Pongola, ended on a sour note when they could not reach a consensus.

Didiza had visited the King in Pongola in northern KwaZulu-Natal to discuss the matter, but she ended up in a heated meeting with his representatives.

The issue of the Ingonyama Trust and its board has been a thorny matter, even during the reign of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Also, there are growing calls to take the 2.8 million hectares of land managed by the trust, whose sole trustee is the king, and place it under direct government control.

At some point, Parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development demanded that the governance issues at the trust, which include financial mismanagement and board vacancies, be urgently dealt with.

During Tuesday’s meeting, a source said the King’s delegation expressed his unhappiness about some board members proposed by the minister.

“The King’s delegation was not happy with the proposed names and asked the meeting to be halted until his concerns have been addressed.

“However, the minister and her delegation appeared to be prepared to get their way and that annoyed everybody in the palace.

“There was even a suggestion that the SAPS team that guards the King should kick them out of the palace,” the source said.

However, Didiza’s spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said the minister clarified the processes that must be followed in the appointment of the Board according to the legislation.

“In terms of the Ingonyama Trust Act of 1997, the minister appoints four members after consultations with Ingonyama, the premier and the chairperson of the KZN House of Traditional leaders.

“The premier then consults Ingonyama and the chairperson of the KZN House of Traditional Leaders. Following these consultations, the premier then forwards the names to the minister.

“Ingonyama then appoints His nominee and forward such to the minister.

“In October 2022, the minister commenced with the consultation processes in terms of the legislation. She further requested the premier to undertake consultation as per the section of the legislation,” Ngcobo said.

Ngcobo also confirmed that King Misuzulu had objected to some of the names proposed for the board’s appointment.

“In December, the minister received a letter from His Majesty the King which raised some concerns, and requested a meeting with the minister.

“The minister clarified matters in writing and accepted the invitation for the meeting which was held yesterday with his representatives,” he said without naming the board members the king does not want.

The King’s spokesperson, Prince Thulani Zulu, did not respond when asked who the proposed board members King Misuzulu is not happy with.

sihle.mavuso@inl.co.za

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