Twenty-three municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) said on Monday that they were owed about R302 million in outstanding rates by the Ingonyama Trust.
That was revealed by the trust’s chairperson, Judge Jerome Ngwenya, during a virtual meeting facilitated by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in KZN.
The Ingonyama Trust controls close to three million hectares of land in the province and collects over R100 million annually from those occupying the land.
Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is the sole trustee.
Judge Ngwenya said that he was having discussions with provincial Cogta officials over the debt owed to local municipalities.
Ngwenya raised complaints, saying that municipalities wanted to claim for rates despite failing to develop the land.
“Our dispute with municipalities is when they ask the trust to pay rates when they know very well that some of the municipalities use this land for free, and they want the board or the trust to pay rates for them. We say that cannot be the case,” he said.
Ngwenya has reiterated his criticism for the panel led by former President Kgalema Motlanthe, which recommended a review of the Ingonyama Trust.
“I told Mr Motlanthe personally in a meeting that one of the panelists was a person who had predetermined views and was a critic of the Ingonyama Trust,” Ngwenya said.
Ngwenya said that some of those who criticised the trust were funded by international organisations hell-bent on destabilising the Zulu nation.