DA welcome KZN Premier’s changed position on Ingonyama Trust

Mark Steele, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Agriculture

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal welcomes the comments made by Premier, Zweli Mkhize, at a recent rural development summit and specifically his inclusion of freehold and leasehold as models of land ownership which must be part of the way forward for people living on land administered by the Ingonyama Trust.

Premier Mkhize may just have been flying a political kite aimed at establishing how much opposition his comments produce.  But the fact that he has shown a willingness to put on the table matters which so far have not been part of the official discussion shows real progress is possible in a matter with many sensitivities and vested interests.

The Premier knows full well that municipalities are suffering from stunted revenue collection, largely because the Ingonyama Trust pays no rates, despite the massive investments in private property that have taken place in these areas in recent years.

This is an unsustainable position going forward and one which must be resolved.

The provincial government may be tempted to try incremental reform which essentially leaves little unchanged.  But, at some point soon, it will have to grasp the nettle of extending to the occupants of communal land the same rights to own, buy, and sell property – rights which are enjoyed by all other South Africans including the Premier.