Inkosi Mzimela is still the Ingonyama Trust chair despite Buthelezi’s announcement of his withdrawal

By Willem Phungula

Despite Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s announcement of Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela’s withdrawal as the new chairperson of the Ingonyama Trust Board on Friday, Mzimela is still in charge.

This is according to the Department of Agriculture and Land Reforms and the Board of the Trust, which said they still regarded Mzimela as the chairperson.

The two public institutions said it was the prerogative of King Misuzulu kaZwelithini and not Buthelezi’s to announce changes in this regard.

Buthelezi, the King’s traditional prime minister, announced Inkosi Mzimela’s withdrawal as the chairperson after meeting with the Zulu monarch on Friday.

But department’s spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said Buthelezi’s statement was meaningless since he had no status in the Ingonyama Trust. Ngcobo said Minister Didiza still regarded Mzimela as the legal chairperson since it was the king who had submitted his name to her.

“We saw Buthelezi’s statement but to us it meant nothing and we don’t want to comment about it since it does not affect Inkosi Mzimela’s position in the Trust. The department will continue treating Inkosi Mzimela until such time the king advises us differently. In the Ingonyama Trust there is no position of the prime minister,” said Ngcobo.

The Trust’s Chief Executive Officer Vela Mngwengwe, said he was aware of Buthelezi’s statement but since he had not yet seen anything written by the King himself, the Trust still regarded Mzimela as the chairperson.

Mngwengwe said since it was the king who had written to the department, the premier, and everyone else that Mzimela had been chosen as the chairperson of the Trust, it was for the monarch and not Buthelezi to inform them if Mzimela had withdrawn.

Mzimela said he would comment after meeting with the king on Tuesday but sources close to him said he had not withdrawn, and was not part of the meeting between the king and Buthelezi.

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