Riyaz Patel

The presidential expert advisory panel on land and agrarian reform has recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act either be reviewed or repealed. 

The panel recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act be reviewed or possibly repealed, as the “act has perpetuated the existence of KwaZulu-Natal as a homeland within a unitary state 25 years into a new democratic order.”

The Ingonyama Trust was established in 1994 to be the custodian of 29.67% land that was previously administered by the KwaZulu-Natal government.

Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is the sole trustee, has previously warned that anyone who touched the Ingonyama Trust was declaring war against the Zulu nation.

A call for a review of the Trust first came from a high-level panel led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe, which recommended that parliament scrap the law that allowed the Trust to control land in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Sunday, the panel, which started its work in 2018, said legislation around the Ingonyama Trust should have been the subject of consultation between the national and provincial government and traditional authorities. 

The report said the intention of the trust was to create a mechanism to preserve tribal interests in the land, and there was no intention to give the Ingonyama Trust Board the powers of government. 

The panel added that deficiencies in the current structure did not allow for the democratic expression of the will of the people living on trust land.


The report further stated there were many instances of a lack of public accountability by the board regarding the finances of the trust and the top-down imposition of a lease system on land already owned by the people.

The panel said the government should act “immediately and decisively” to facilitate equitable access to land.  

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It was further recommended, in terms of the administration of the land, that the government should immediately assume responsibility and custodianship of the trust land and administer it on behalf of its citizens. 

Lobby group Afriforum, who has been critical of government’s land redistribution policy, also weighed in the Ingonyama Trust issue.

“This can be realised through appropriately constituted land boards. This will ensure that the administration of this land is brought in line with the land administration in the rest of the country,” the panel recommended. 

Rural development and land reform minister Thoko Didiza said the government would reflect on the recommendations and “will make its pronouncement in that regard.” 


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