President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS

President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini to assure him that tribal land in KwaZulu-Natal will remain under the custodianship of the Ingonyama Trust and the state would never try and “grab the land”.

Ramaphosa was visiting the Pentecostal Holiness Church in Empangeni on Friday night as part of the KwaZulu-Natal leg of the ANC’s Thuma Mina campaign, launched in Gauteng last month.

Ramaphosa’s address comes as tensions between the ruling party and the Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini continue to mount.

This week Zwelithini drew a line in the sand, threatening the ANC with all out war if the ruling party made good on moves to scrap the Ingonyama Trust Act which administers swathes of tribal land in the province. 

President Ramaphosa promised to meet with Zwelithini in an effort to allay his fears.

“I want to assure the King as I leave here to see him, we have no intention to grab the land from the trust. That land we will never try and grab because we have full respect for our traditional leaders and our king. They will continue administering this land on behalf of our people and the king,” he said.

“I am going to have a wonderful cup of tea with Isilo and we are going to talk about this matter. We are not targeting communal land, it should continue to be administered by our traditional leaders because they hold that land in custody for our people,” Ramaphosa added.

The President said that war-mongering should cease, and that land reform would be conducted in a responsible manner.

“There is no need to go to war and there is no need for anyone to get upset, angry or worked up. For South Africans as a whole there is no need for anyone to get emotional about the land issue. This will be handled in an orderly manner in line with our constitution.”

In the face of threats to the autonomy of the trust, and the possibility that traditional land could be ceded to the state, Zwelithini has been defiant.

“What I want you to know about our history is that the issue we are faced with now is very similar to the one our forefathers were faced with. This will be the second clash‚” said Zwelithini, speaking this week in front of thousands of his amabutho (Zulu warriors) in Ulundi.

Zwelithini said that he‚ like his forefathers‚ would be resilient and rebuff any attempt to “take” the land.

“I was born from a brave man and that is why I know I will be victorious against those who are trying to take my land‚" he said.

"It is 2018 and we are faced with the same issue that we were faced with in the olden days. The difference is that it is now coming from a black man and not a white one. The war our fathers faced before is the same war we are faced with today.”