Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Ingonyama Trust to get a new board ‘soon’

The process of appointing a new, permanent Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB) — and an investigation into the land administration entity’s finances — has still not been concluded, despite the 1 January  deadline set by Land Reform Minister Thoko Didiza

But, says her spokesperson, Reggie Ngcobo, the two processes remain on track and should be wrapped up “soon”.

The term of the ITB office — which administers nearly three million hectares of tribal land on behalf of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu — expired last June and was extended by Didiza for three months until 31  August.

On 1 September, Didiza, whose department funds the ITB, appointed an interim board and extended the term of office of its chairperson, Jerome Ngwenya, to allow for its restructuring while new members were selected. 

Ngwenya, a former judge, is the nominee of the monarch, who is being consulted, along with KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala, about the appointment of a new chairperson.

Although no timeline was set for permanent appointments to the new board, Didiza said late last year that the process, along with the investigation into the ITB’s finances, should be concluded by 1 January.

The new interim board, whose members include lawyer Linda Zama and former Durban International Convention Centre chief executive Zethu Qunta, has focused on reorganising the entity. 

Earlier this year, Ngwenya initiated a retrenchment process in response to R23-million in funding being withheld by Didiza over the ITB’s failure to submit audited financial statements and annual reports on time. 

The interim board halted the process and an organogram drafted by Ngwenya was rejected because it failed to provide staff for community, youth and women’s development programmes.

Ngcobo said that due processes, including consultation with the monarch and the premier about the chairperson, who is the king’s nominee, still had to be concluded.

He added that the investigation into the ITB’s finances and allegations by traditional leaders that Ngwenya had used the body to enrich himself were still ongoing.

“There were certain allegations made by amakhosi that still have to be followed up before the investigation can be concluded,” Ngcobo said.

A source close to the process told the Mail & Guardian that the interim board had not held a full meeting during its three months of existence, with only committees tasked with dealing with various aspects of the ITB’s overhaul continuing to meet.

“It has been impossible for the full board to meet since it was appointed. Committees are meeting, but in a splintered way,” the source said. “There is no full-time chief executive, no company secretary, or no legal advisers in place. The entire structure is dysfunctional.”

Six of the ITB’s top executives — including chief executive officer Lucas Mkhwanazi and chief financial officer Amin Mia — returned to work late last year after being placed on de facto suspension by Ngwenya.

The group was reinstated in terms of a ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. Mkhwanazi has since retired.

Ngcobo referred questions regarding the day-to-day functioning of the ITB to Ngwenya.

ITB spokesperson Simphiwe Mxakaza referred queries from the M&G to Ngwenya. He did not respond to calls or emails from this newspaper.

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

SANDF’s ‘dignity’ comes with a R200mn price tag

Find out about the SANDF’s new uniform, which is costing taxpayers close to R200-million, while mission-critical equipment is not maintained

Roshan Morar’s fingers in every pie, including KZN education and...

The controversial auditor’s firm seconded staff to run the education department’s finance offices for more than 15 years. What’s more, former KZN education director general Cassius Lubisi is the audit firm’s new chair

More top stories

As Covid third wave digs in, military health service sent...

The defence branch will assist with mass testing, screening and contact tracing

South Africa’s youth are not ‘millennials’

Labelling them in the same way as youth in the US leads to false perceptions and misunderstanding

Will the EFF capitalise on the ANC’s governance failures?

Good election outcomes for the party will mean Julius Malema’s dangerous racism will again receive airtime

A portal to empathy: Photographs that change the world

It is important not to look away from visceral pictorial evidence of the suffering of disempowered people
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×