DOWNLOAD HERE: The Ingonyama Trust Financial Reporting – Implications for Accountability


The Ingonyama Trust was created by the Ingonyama Trust Act of 1994, just as South Africa headed to its first democratic elections, to hold in trust under the trusteeship of the Zulu monarch, the Ingonyama, all land that previously was vested in the former KwaZulu ‘homeland’ government. Since its inception, and since the establishment of a Board to administer the affairs of the Trust in 1997, the unintended consequence of removing this public land from State ownership into a trusteeship arrangement has been that the rules of financial reporting became contested and uncertain – and ultimately changed substantively.


This Research Report explores how shifts in the criteria and categories used by the Ingonyama Trust in its financial reporting to Parliament over the past nine years have had far-reaching consequences for beneficiaries of the Trust, and how changes have negatively impacted the extent to which the Trust and its Board have been held accountable. Some of these changes have been queried by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, but others appear to have gone unremarked. This careful report examines the record of changes in financial reporting, the Board’s arguments for these changes and the difficulty that those in legally mandated oversight structures have had in obtaining the information necessary for proper oversight.

The report argues that only by examining the premises for the changes that have been made, and by reviewing, understanding, and addressing the cumulative impact of these incremental changes, can the operation of the Ingonyama Trust and its administrative board, the Ingonyama Trust Board, be properly assessed and monitored, and any problems identified be corrected. The report concludes with significant and far-reaching recommendations for action that should be taken by key actors who have a part to play in ensuring that the interests of the Ingonyama Trust beneficiaries are properly served.


Janet Bellamy is an experienced property lawyer and a former research associate for the Land & Accountability Research Centre at the University of Cape Town (LARC). She has a special interest in land rights in South Africa and the connection between indigenous land rights, property law and dispossession.


Permanent link to this article:

Custom Contested