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

Related stories


Subscribers only

Matrics fail at critical subjects

The basic education minister talks of quality passes achieved by the class of 2020, but a closer look at the results tells a different story

‘Captured’ water utility exec holes up

Thami Hlongwa seems to be in hiding after a blacklisted technology company scored millions from Umgeni Water and the owner was murdered

More top stories

Sisulu dissolves housing agency board, again

The HDA is once again under administration, and its acting chief executive gets to stay on

Pangolins pushed to the brink of extinction

The trafficking of scales is no longer a ‘niche’ criminal activity, but a serious and organised crime that threatens to make all eight species extinct within 20 years

Durban residents want answers after refinery emission

People living near the refinery were subjected to two hours of dirty smoke from the refinery, the South Durban Environmental Alliance said on Saturday.

Parents ‘key to best grade 12 results’

For the past four years, the matric results in Tshwane South has been the leading district in Gauteng. The formula to success has been involving the parents

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…