LARC’s documentary film This Land tells the story of the Makhasaneni community’s struggle against the mining of iron ore on their land in KwaZulu-Natal. Decades ago, induna Dludla the local leader, lodged a land claim on behalf of people who had been forcibly removed from white farm land. The community rejoiced when their claim was recently finally approved only to be confronted by legal action from the Ingonyama Trust. The Trust has gone to court arguing that the land should be registered in the name of the Ingonyama Trust, and not the families who were forcibly removed. This is despite the fact that the Ingonyama Trust never lodged a claim to the land before the cut off date of 1998. Also the Ingonyama Trust Act states very clearly which land falls under the Ingonyama Trust. It is the land that made up the former KwaZulu homeland. The land claimed by induna Dludla is near Melmoth and was never part of the KwaZulu homeland.
The Ingonyama Trust wants the land to be transferred to themselves, or the settlement delayed until they have a chance to put in their own land claim after the re-opening of the lodging of land claims envisaged by the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill that is currently before Parliament. This illustrates the danger of the re-opening of claims being used to hold back the settlement of valid claims on behalf of families who were forcibly removed so that counter claims by institutions such as the Ingonyama Trust can be expedited at the expense of the original land claim.