EXTRACT

The king is thriving on disinformation, fear-mongering and, to some degree, people's ignorance.

It is disinformation to pretend that former president Kgalema Motlanthe has started a war against the king. Motlanthe was appointed by the speaker of the National Assembly to chair a high-level panel that was to review hundreds of pieces of legislation on a cross-section of issues.

The Ingonyama Trust Act is an imperfect piece of legislation. The panel found that its intention was that the land entrusted to the king would "later be surveyed into specific parcels and transferred to 'tribes and communities' in KwaZulu-Natal as delineated in terms of the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951".

This has never happened.

The king is benefiting from having smartly navigated the country's vulnerability before the 1994 elections. He wishes to continue benefiting from such an imperfect deal.

In his almost 50 years as king of the Zulu nation, King Goodwill Zwelithini has faced legitimacy questions and challenges to his status as the only monarch in KwaZulu-Natal. The formation and dissolution of kingdoms have been subject to political machination in our country since colonialism; if indeed kingdoms are so fixed, former president Jacob Zuma would not have announced in 2010 that six of the 13 kingships in place then would be phased out once the incumbents died. The Nhlapo commission established to deal with traditional leadership claims traces the creation of the kingship of the Zulus to Shaka after he ascended the throne in 1816. Before this, the commission holds, the Zulus "constituted a small polity, composed of several communities who may be said to have lived in a loose confederation".This context is important in understanding the present-day politics around the Ingonyama Trust, which was hurriedly brought into effect a mere three days before the 1994 general election...

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