'I am the author of the Ingonyama Trust. It was not established by the ...
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi on Friday claimed the new chair of the Ingonyama Trust, Thanduyise Mzimela, has been described as “a self-confessed incompetent individual” who had initially declined the position, citing lack of capacity.
Buthelezi said despite this, Zulu King Misuzulu KaZwelithini had appointed him anyway.
Buthelezi, who is the king's traditional prime minister, made this allegation during an address to the Zulu nation's traditional leaders in Empangeni on Friday.
Buthelezi, for the first time, also questioned the validity of his position under the reign of King Misuzulu — due to the king's refusal to heed his guidance.
Outlining his personal investment in matters of the trust, Buthelezi said: “I am the author of the Ingonyama Trust. It was not established by the king but by me. And the trust has been continually threatened since its very inception. But how can I remain when my king refuses to protect the land of the Zulu kingdom which I placed under his care?” .
To illustrate his lack of faith in Mzimela's leadership, the traditional prime minister said the new board chair had pleaded for his nomination to be withdrawn when the king first suggested his appointment.
“In our meeting the king, his majesty, accepted Inkosi Mzimela's appeal to withdraw as chairperson of Ingonyama Trust board. It was in the presence of us all that the king phoned Inkosi Mzimela ... His majesty then phoned [former Ingonyama Trust board chair Mr [Jerome] Ngwenya to confirm his continued service as chairperson of the board. This was also done in our presence,” he said.
Buthelezi said he had conveyed the king's decision on the matter of the chair to amakhosi. However he was shocked when Mzimela was subsequently announced as the new board chair.
“As matters stood the perception was clear that either the king had misled me or I had been misleading the nation on what the king decided. I was finding it extremely difficult to understand the king's actions,” said Buthelezi.
Buthelezi emphasised he did not seek to undermine the king's prerogative on the board chair matter but felt there was confusion and the king should clarify the matter to amakhosi.
Buthelezi decried the king's resistance to his counsel that he at least allow Ngwenya time to do a handover and assist Mzimela in understanding the work. Buthelezi said the king seemed to be in a rush to get rid of Ngwenya.
“I cannot understand why he is determined to completely remove him with no handover period and no opportunity to Ngwenya to transfer the enormous store of knowledge and experience he has gained to the next chairperson of the board,” Buthelezi said.
He also raised concern over “a syndicate of illegal miners trying to infiltrate the board to ensure they could secure exclusive rights to mine”.
He warned that a “stench of corruption that has become so prevalent in our country has begun to rise around the Zulu nation's most treasured asset”.
“As the founder of the trust I cannot stomach the idea that the land would be sold off by anyone. We did not resist the loss of our land for generations only to see it being taken by outsiders for a few sovereigns,” he said.
Minister of agriculture & rural development Thoko Didiza, whose involvement in the board appointment process is mandated by law, was also not spared.
“He [the king] is taking advice from minister Thoko Didiza, when the ANC has made it clear over the years that it wants to take the land of Ingonyama Trust from our people,” Buthelezi said, citing an ANC policy document stating that the KwaZulu-Natal ANC has been moving for the repeal of the Ingonyama Trust.
Buthelezi said he believes he has done everything to protect King Misuzulu and ensure he ascended to the throne in line with the wishes of his late parents. But he added that “his majesty is making it impossible to continue serving under these circumstances”.
“If his majesty cannot allow me to protect the land belonging to our kingdom, I do not know what role to play,” he said.
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