The Ingonyama Trust Board has challenged parliament to produce evidence of its alleged incompetence, accusing the legislature of treating the trust as renegades.
This comes a week after the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on agriculture, rural development and land reform recommended that the board be placed under administration.
“The issue of us not knowing governance and policies, we respectfully request information – in what sense and more details in terms of what law has the board violated because we are seen as just renegades,” charged board chairperson Jerome Ngwenya on Thursday.
“We are told by this committee that we are not following the provisions of the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] but no specific reference of that is brought to our attention, neither do we find that in our audited financials on a yearly basis which are presented to this committee,” he said.
Ngwenya said the questions about the board and calls for its dissolution had no basis.
He said an impression was being created that the Ingonyama Trust was a multibillion-rand organisation with hidden funds, which was not the case.
Ngwenya admitted that in their accounting they projected higher amounts, but in reality they were getting much less actual cash from leased land.
He also took issue with the parliamentary committee’s call to the board to stop its conversion of permission to occupy agreements into long-term leases.
“The committee says don’t collect the money at all, from leases or anything else. It doesn’t say where the trust must get money from in substitution of the money that we get.
“In other words, we must sit in the trust, receive no money on behalf of the trust and therefore fail to achieve the mandate, that the land must be administered for the material benefit of the people, because there is no income coming or additional funding from the government”.
It emerged last month that the department of agriculture, rural development and land reform could not allocate any funding for the 2020/21 financial year to the Ingonyama Trust as the entity had failed to submit its budget proposal on time.