South Africa’s Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has warned the government of stern action for encroaching on his people’s ancestral land.
King Zwelithini said “all hell will break loose” if the land in KwaZulu Natal Province is taken by the government.
The South African government is mulling on expropriating land without compensation as adopted on the ruling African National Congress’s (ANC) 54th National Conference in 2017, which was passed in Parliament earlier this year.
The move would also affect the Zulu kingdom and King Zwelithini is furious over the proposal. He has vowed to fight to have KwaZulu Natal declared a separate Zulu homeland.
“As Zulus, we are being provoked in our ancestral land. If government makes a mistake of taking our land, all hell will break loose,” said King Zwelithini.
He added that he was not afraid of anyone in government and would take them on if they ‘tamper with our land’.
“I fear no one, but I respect people simply because of their political positions. I am a peaceful man guided by God,” he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has, however, made it clear that KwaZulu Natal cannot be a separate state.
“South Africa is a unitary state. No one can create KwaZulu Natal as a separate state,” said President Ramaphosa.
In an ANC Land Summit held in June, while addressing issues around rural land ownership, former President Kgalema Motlante said the majority of traditional leaders were acting as village tin-pot dictators to the people.
Royal family leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi accused Mr Motlanthe of attacking the king by ‘calling him a tin-pot village dictator’.
A corporate entity
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) has also accused the government of being irresponsible in the way it has handled the Zulu land issue.
“What we require is the return of the land to the African majority that was stolen by whites and the ancestral land must be left to the Zulus,” said CONTRALESA spokesperson, Zolani Mkiva.
Zululand is administered by the Ingonyama Trust, a corporate entity established to manage the land traditionally owned by the black South Africans.
The southern African country’s Constitutional Review Committee is presently taking submissions on the review of section 25 of the Constitution – the property clause – which would allow government to seize and distribute land without compensating the current owners.
Hearings started simultaneously in Limpopo and the Northern Cape last month and end in the Western Cape in August.