King Goodwill Zwelithini is planning to join forces with Afrikaner supremacist group AfriForum in an effort to oppose land expropriation without compensation.
Zwelithini, who was speaking at the Moses Mabhida football stadium in Durban at the weekend during Umkhosi Welembe — the annual commemoration of former Zulu King Shaka — said in July he met with AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel at the Enyokeni Palace in Nongoma to discuss land reform.
In his speech, the king said land expropriation without compensation would pose a risk to food security and threaten the existence of the Zulu nation. He told the crowd this had led him to ask Afriforum for help in fighting proposed land reform.
“The Zulu nation I’m talking about will not exist if we don’t have food. That’s why I say farmers must come closer so that we discuss what we can do when we talk about agriculture and the availability of enough food in the land,” Zwelithini said in isiZulu.
“That’s why I’m asking AfriForum of the boers to come and help us, as they’ve introduced themselves to me that they are willing to work with me and my father’s people to uplift agriculture in our land in order to have food. Because when government started talking about the appropriation of land expropriation without compensation, boers downed tools. There is no food in South Africa,” he continued.
At its national conference in December last year, the ANC resolved that it would only support land expropriation without compensation if it does not threaten food security and the economy.
Since then, President Ramaphosa has pledged that land expropriation without compensation would increase food security and economic development.
“The intention of this proposed amendment is to promote redress, advance economic development, increase agricultural production and food security,” Ramaphosa said in August.
A picture of Ramaphosa “kneeling” before Zwelithini went viral in July, but the Presidency furiously denied the claims that the president had knelt. Instead, Ramaphosa said that he was showing the Zulu King a book on cattle.
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Afriforum has been accused of fuelling tensions in the country because of the way it has chosen to oppose proposed land reform amendments to the Constitution. The group has called land expropriation without compensation “racist theft” and has travelled to the United States to lobby support for “white rights”.
In May, during a visit to the US, the group met with John Bolton, the national security adviser to US president Donald Trump, Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s staffers, and featured on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.
The group later claimed victory following Trump’s claim on Twitter that his administration would “closely study” alleged land seizures and farm murders in South Africa.
Zwelithini further opposes land expropriation without compensation because of he fears it would affect the Ingonyama Trust. He is the sole trustee of 2.8-million hectares of land in the trust.
Parliament is still deciding on whether the Section 25 of the Constitution — which deals with property rights — will be amended.
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