Amakhosi in KwaZulu-Natal are threatening that there will be hell to pay should control of tribal land be taken away from them, and true to their word the issue surfaced in the first parliamentary debate of the year. With the ANC fractured as it is in the province, and with a general election just over a year away, this matter could menacingly hang around for a while yet.
It has driven the outgoing leader of the IFP to tears in the past, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi's predictions on this one could yet prove to be true. "One of the first and greatest tests of our president will be the issue of land," he said on Monday as a joint sitting of Parliament debated the State of the Nation Address.
Buthelezi was referring specifically to the Ingonyama Trust, headed by King Goodwill Zwelithini. It administers land in traditional areas - about 60% of the total land in KwaZulu-Natal - according to Zulu customary law. There is some contention about the Ingonyama Trust Act, which was passed and enacted shortly before South Africa's first democratic election on 27 April, 1994.
Some have even said that it was part of...