A community on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has accused the local chief of selling their land illegally.
Members of the Luthuli clan, who once administered leases in the area through the Umnini Trust, are going to court over the matter.
The provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is investigating their claims.
An Umnini induna, Msawakhe Luthuli, and the local chief, Phathisizwe Luthuli, are not on good terms.
“The chief decided to fire me as headman in 2010 because he wanted to surround himself with people who would always salute him and say ‘bayede’ regardless of what he says,” said Luthuli.
Their relationship soured further over what Luthuli and other community members say was the illegal sale of their land by the chief, supported by the board of the Ingonyama Trust.
“The one who makes money here is the Ingonyama Trust because residents get leases from the chief. We don’t have enough information about how much they’re paying the chief for their lease, but what we know is these leases belong to the Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB). People who have leases pay the ITB and we have tangible evidence (of this) from residents.”
This prime land had belonged to the Luthuli clan since the 1800s, and was administered through the community-led Umnini Trust.
But after the establishment of the Ingonyama Trust Board in 1994, things changed, allegedly without notice.