A South African ‘land grab’ with a big twist: report

The Ingonyama Trust of King Goodwill Zwelinthini is trying to take R3 billion worth of land that has been won in a decades-long land claim by five communities that were historically evicted from it.

According to a report by the City Press, the trust is claiming the land as the communities are ‘subjects’ of King Zwelinthini, so whatever land they get as part of the agreed upon settlement actually belongs to the king and the Zulu nation.

The new claim, which is contained in court documents submitted in the process, has thrown a spanner in the works of the decades-long process to return the land to the communities.

About 30 current owners of the farms – situated in Melmoth – are prepared to sell the 11,000 hectares of land to the state for R760 million, the City Press reports, while the state is prepared to pay for it and the communities stand ready to accept it.

However, the Ingonyama Trust said there could be conflict “or bloodletting” as there will be different traditional authorities competing for control of the land.

The trust argues that because the communities that were evicted from the land were moved onto land owned by the trust, they became subjects of the Zulu nation.

It said that it the land won’t be used by the king, it will just be held with the other 2.8 million hectares already controlled by the trust.

The original claimants have reportedly pushed back, arguing that living on Zulu land does not automatically make them subjects incapable of owning their own land. The claim by the Ingonyama Trust has been called ‘opportunistic’.

You can read the full report in the City Press for 28 October

Read: Joburg city to push ahead with land expropriation without compensation ‘test case’ – report

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A South African ‘land grab’ with a big twist: report