No annual R22-million for Ingonyama Trust Board

Government withheld funding for the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) after the entity failed to submit its budget to the department of land reform, agriculture and rural development for the current financial year.

The submission of the ITB’s budget is understood to have been delayed by the de facto suspension of its top management — including chief executive Lucas Mkhwanazi and chief financial officer Amin Mia — on the orders of board chairperson Jerome Ngwenya in January.

The two were among five top executives placed on special leave in January by Ngwenya pending an investigation, the nature of which has not been made public. A sixth executive, land and tenure management services head Thembeka Ndlovu, was placed on special leave last year.

The ITB is funded by the department to the tune of around R22-million annually, with the shortfall in its operating expenses, which average more than R40-million a year, made up from revenue it collects on mining rights, levies and leases.

It administers around three million hectares of land under the control of traditional authorities in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is the sole trustee of the Ingonyama Trust. The ITB is the subject of a high court challenge by two NGOs and several residents of trust land who want its residential ease programme declared unlawful. The matter has been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.


Land reform spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo confirmed the delay in allocating funding of around R22-million to the ITB for its operating costs, saying the money would be released once the necessary documentation had been forwarded to the department.

“The department can confirm that the ITB has not submitted its financial request yet,” Ngcobo said. “It will be allocated once the necessary documentation is received from the ITB.”

Ngcobo said the department was “working closely” with the troubled entity to ensure that it adhered to financial management procedures.

The department was also assisting the board in ensuring it accounted for “each and every cent” it had allocated to traditional authorities and communities, in line with the request from Parliament.

Next Tuesday, the ITB, which has been under fire in Parliament over a series of negative audit outcomes from the auditor-general, is scheduled to provide the land reform portfolio committee a breakdown of all funds it has allocated to communities and traditional authorities.

It has previously failed to meet deadlines set by the committee to submit the breakdown of funds allocated to communities and traditional authorities.

Tuesday’s committee meeting is also scheduled to discuss the ITB’s budget.

Sources in the ITB told Mail & Guardian this week that the six executives — several of whom are preparing to challenge their de facto suspension in the labour court — and other staff members had not been paid their salaries.

It is not clear at this stage why they have not been paid.

ITB spokesperson Simphiwe Mxakaza referred the M&G to the chairperson, Ngwenya, who did not respond by the time of publication.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

Related stories

Finance probe into the Ingonyama Trust Board goes ahead

The threat of legal action from ITB chairperson Jerome Ngwenya fails to halt forensic audit ordered by the land reform minister

Ingonyama Trust hit with forensic audit

ITB chair says land reform minister has no authority over him and only his king can tell him what to do

Illegal land sales head to court

Two state departments have done nothing about the sale of people’s land in Umnini by an inkosi –and R2.5-million has still not been accounted for

Ingonyama Trust Board moves to retrench staff

More than 50 workers at the Ingonyama Trust Board have been issued section 189 notices

KwaZulu-Natal is emerging as a new Covid-19 epicentre

Large groups attending funerals and people delaying being tested and treated because they fear dying in hospital has contributed to a spike in coronavirus infections in KZN

Reinstated Ingonyama Trust managers hit with retrenchment notices

The effect of Covid-19 and the land reform department’s freeze of R23-million because the ITB didn’t comply with budget submissions are cited as some of the reasons for the staff cuts
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Meyiwa murder case postponed amid drama in court

The murder case of Senzo Meyiwa has been postponed to next month after the appearance of the five suspects in the Boksburg magistrate’s court took an unexpected turn

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Wheeling and dealing for a Covid-19 vaccine

A Covid-19 jab could cost hundreds of rands. Or not. It’s anyone’s guess. Could another pandemic almost a century ago hold clues for handling the coronavirus today?

The European companies that armed the Ivorian civil war

AN OCCRP investigation reveals that Gunvor and Semlex brokered weapons-for-oil deals in early 2011 when Côte d’Ivoire was in crisis, despite a UN arms embargo
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday