'We have no views' – ANC treads carefully on King Zwelithini's stance on Ingonyama Trust
The ANC is treading carefully on the matter of the controversial Ingonyama Trust after the head of the Zulu monarchy warned that those who want to dissolve the trust were the "enemy and will be defeated".
The ANC said it was being "misconstrued as anti-Zulu monarch" after King Goodwill Zwelithini took jabs at the governing party on Wednesday at his imbizo in Ulundi and warned of a war if the land under the trust was taken.
The party said on Thursday it had not formulated a view that is either in favour of or against calls for the Ingonyama Trust Act to be repealed.
It instead expressed its wish for an urgent meeting with King Zwelithini to set the record straight.
"There is urgency for that meeting because the ANC is going to be misconstrued as anti-Zulu and fighting the king, which is not the case," ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula said.
He repeatedly distanced the governing party from recommendations made by a parliamentary panel headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe that the act, which gave the trust administrative authority over 2.8 million hectares of land, be repealed.
Motlanthe 'not speaking on party's behalf'
The dissolution of the trust was part of the recommendations by Motlanthe's high-level panel that was set up by Parliament to review all current laws.
Motlanthe has also faced harsh criticism for likening the rule of traditional leaders over their subjects to that of tin-pot dictators because of the power they hold over land. He was speaking during the ANC's May land summit.
Mbalula said the party's former secretary general was not speaking on the party's behalf.
He added that while the ANC had not taken a stand on Motlanthe's high-level panel report, it was willing to apologise to the king.
Mbalula said "elders in the party" were handling Motlanthe's remarks.
"Comrade Motlanthe's views are not the views of the ANC and if there is any apology that has to be offered to anybody, including the king, the ANC will do that of its own accord, led by its leadership," he said.
The ANC will meet with traditional leaders through CONTRALESA and also meet with the King of the Zulu Nation. There should be no ambiguity- the ANC must and will clarify its stance. ANC didn’t take a decision to take land from the Ingonyama Trust. #ThumaMina pic.twitter.com/dU6KqGPXOI— Fikile (Mr Fearfokkol) (@MbalulaFikile) July 5, 2018
Fears of hostile reception for Ramaphosa
"There is no view of the ANC that says we support the high-level panel, there is no such.
"Everyone must disabuse themselves [of the idea] that the ANC is anti-Zulu king, and it wants to annex [the Zulu kingdom] or do anything in relation to this question based on the recommendation of Motlanthe's high-level panel," Mbalula said.
He was briefing the media ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa's "Thuma Mina" election campaign stop in KwaZulu-Natal this weekend. There are fears Ramaphosa might face some hostility following the king's imbizo.
Mbalula would not directly respond to the king's comments in which he labelled ANC leaders "thieves".
He said the party would not engage the king "on the street" but wanted a "decent conversation" with him.
"We are not going to be populist, there are avenues and the king has never shut us out….Where we are called thieves we will engage with the king," Mbalula said.
The Ingonyama Trust Act was signed into law just days before the country's first democratic elections in 1994. News24
Mbalula rips Carl Niehaus apart for speaking on behalf of ANC at Zulu imbizo
Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus was representing "his own jacket" when he apologised on behalf of the ANC, the party's head of elections Fikile Mbalula said on Thursday.
Niehaus had taken to the stage at a special imbizo on land, called by King Goodwill Zwelithini to discuss proposals to dissolve the Ingonyama Trust. King Zwelithini is the sole trustee of the land that is divided according to clans and is overseen by traditional leaders.
Niehaus claimed he was speaking as an ANC member. He slammed the recommendations by former president Kgalema Motlanthe's parliamentary high-level panel that the act that formed the Trust, enacted just days before the 1994 elections, be repealed.
He said Motlanthe's "attack on traditional leaders was entirely unjustified."
Motlanthe has been criticised by traditional leaders including the King for saying that they behaved like "tin-pot dictators" over their subjects because of the power they hold over land.
But Mbalula bashed Niehaus during a media briefing at the party's headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday.
He distanced the ANC from Niehaus' apology.
Mbalula also said the party would deal with the matter.
"If there is any apology, the ANC leadership will process that and it will speak for itself," Mbalula said.
Mbalula added that "elders in the party" were looking into Motlanthe's comments made at the ANC's land summit in May.
He said the ANC officials also wanted to meet with King Zwelithini as the ANC's views were being misconstrued to be anti the king and the Zulu nation. News24