ANC in damage control over Ingonyama Trust

JOHANNESBURG - A ministerial task team will meet traditional leaders on Friday to discuss the land issue.

The team -- led by Cooperative Governance minister Zweli Mkhize -- has been appointed to engage the National House of Traditional leaders.

Earlier, the ANC was in damage control mode after comments by King Goodwill Zwelithini at a land imbizo in KwaZulu-Natal. 

In February, a high-level panel led by former president Kgalema Motlanthe proposed that the trust&39;s land be given to municipalities.

After numerous attempts to persuade Motlanthe to apologise to traditional leaders for calling them tinpot village dictators, ANC MK Veterans spokesperson Carl Niehaus issued an apology to the Zulu King at his imbizo on Wednesday.

But the ANC has distanced itself from his words.

READ: ANC to have high level talks with King Zwelithini over land issue

"Carl Niehaus has got no such a mandate to represent the ANC, he&39;s an MKMVA spokesperson. The ANC will speak for itself," said Fikile Mbalula, ANC Head of Elections. 

"Niehaus erupted there like a volcano on his own and who mandated him, he must account the people who mandated him.

"The ANC never mandated him to go and speak on its behalf at the imbizo and apologise. If there is any apology, the ANC leadership will process that."

Mbalula says the party will engage King Goodwill Zwelithini on the Ingonyama Trust.

He reassured the monarch that the governing party is "not anti-Zulu King" and harbours no intention to annex his land.

Meanwhile, the DA in KwaZulu-Natal says it disagrees with suggestions to repeal the Ingonyama Trust.

Its provincial leader says there’s more important issues that need attention, such as how to economically empower people.

The EFF has also called for engagement with the Zulu royal family over the trust.

EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu says it&39;s unclear if the leasing of land under the Trust is consistent with the Constitution.