Ingonyama Trust Act, Beneficiaries, Controversies, Land Size, Board Members & Net Worth

Ingonyama Trust Act

The Ingonyama Trust is a corporate entity that was established to administer the land traditionally owned by the Zulu people. The act is represented by the Zulu king for the benefit, material welfare, and social well-being of his people, the Zulu nation, who are occupants of the land.

In Zulu, “Ingonyama” means “Lion.” “The Ingonyama Trust was established in 1994 by the erstwhile KwaZulu Government in terms of the KwaZulu Ingonyama Trust Act (Act No 3KZ of 1994) to hold all the land that was owned or belonged to the KwaZulu Government.” This is an excerpt from the Ingonyama Trust site.

According to Wikipedia, “the Ingonyama Trust was formed by an Act of the legislature of the then self-governing territory (Bantustan) of KwaZulu. This was as a last attempt at controlling previously black-owned land at a convenient arms-length, in the dying days of the era of segregation.”


The Ingonyama Trust works to “contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the members of the traditional communities living on Ingonyama Trust land.” They ensure that the land is managed to their benefit and according to the laws of the Zulu land.

The beneficiaries include communities of the land under the king;

Emnambithi, Emzumbe, Hlabisa, Enseleni, Ezingolweni, Madadeni, Hlanganani, Inkanyezi, Ingwavuma, Maphumulo, Mahlabathini, Nongoma, Msinga, Ndwedwe, Mpumalanga, Nkandla, Nquthu, Ongoye, Okhahlamba, Simdlangentsha, Ubombo, Umbumbulu, Vulamehlo, and Vulindlela.


From April 1994 to July 2005, the Trust, as a former state institution, was exempt from paying tax. The position was challenged in a case considered by the Supreme Court of Appeal. Since then, the Ingonyama Trust and the occupants of the townships it controls have paid taxes and rates according to the broader national laws.

Also, the Trust and the question of land ownership and occupancy have been a contested topic.

On December 9 and 10, the Council for Advancement of the South African Constitution, the Rural Women’s Movement, and several communities filed a case against the Trust in Pietermaritzburg High Court in front of three judges.

The Trust has also been criticized for discriminating against women based on gender and denying their rights to land tenure. The claims were denied by Board Chairperson Jerome Ngwenya. He said, “The issue that there are women struggling for land… either it’s not there or they are referring to other places outside Ingonyama Trust land,”

When the matter was taken to court in 2018, it emerged that women had their land rights stripped away because only males were allowed to sign leases.

Land Size

The Ingonyama Trust owns 29.67% of the land in KwaZulu-Natal. This is equivalent to 28,000 square kilometers, or 10,811 square miles.

According to the Trust’s official website, the land holding is 2,883 million hectares with a population of 5.2 million.

Board Members

The Board of the Ingonyama Trust first consists of the Zulu King, MisuZulu Zulu kaZwelithini, who chairs it. It also includes eight members appointed by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform in the national government. They are chosen after consultation with the King, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, and the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders.

The board is tasked with administrating the affairs of the Ingonyama Trust. It ensures sustainable development of the land, thereby working with Amakhosi across the Kwazulu-Natal province. The trust partners with AmaKhosi to manage the land and make sure it stays under the trust.

Net Worth

During the 2019/2020 Annual Report, Mr. Mia, part of the board, said the Ingonyama Trust had total assets of R25.290 billion and total liabilities of R22 159 338. Total net assets were R25 268. Net assets had increased by 0.41% due to an increase in receivables. Find more information about the 2022 Annual Performance Plan here.

Back to top button