Court compels Zulu king to stop forcing occupiers of land to pay rent

Court compels Zulu king to stop forcing occupiers of land to pay rent

- The Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, and his Ingonyama trust has been ordered by the Pietermaritzburg High Court to stop forcing residents to pay rent

- According to the court papers, the king has unlawfully forced residents on his land to enter lease agreements and pay rent

- The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution wants the trust to also refund the residents all the rent they paid

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The occupants of land under the Zulu king's Ingonyama Trust have turned to the Pietermaritzburg High Court to help get out of the forced payments they have to make.

The king has started to cancel residents' permission to lease agreements in 2017 and is forcing them to enter into 40-year agreements instead.

The Ingonyama Trust owns more than 30% of KZN's land, and King Zwelithini Goodwill is the sole trustee of the fund.

News24 reports that the Rural Women's Movement, several individuals, and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) have filed a bid to stop the king from forcing residents to pay.

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It is reported that a lease could cost residents anything between R1 500 and R7 000 a year.

Casac accuses the Ingonyama Trust of violating the constitution and acting unlawfully.

Lawson Naidoo, Casac's executive secretary, stated that the board also violates customary. According to Naidoo, the trust extorted money unlawfully from occupiers of land by forcing them to agree to the lease agreements.

Residents were informed they were “vulnerable to eviction” if they did not pay.

The trust and the board assumed and exercised powers they do not have, but which are vested in the minister of rural development and land reform and the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

Casac now wants the Ingonyama Trust and its board to be prevented from making lease agreements, as well as cancel any agreements already signed by coerced residents. gathered that Casac also wants the trust to repay all the money collected from residents thus far.

It is believed the king received more than R106 million in rent money.

As soon as the king's legal eagles read through the court papers and filed their own, a court date for the case will be decided upon.

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