December 2 2013 at 10:00am By Babalo Ndenze
Johannesburg - Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti has contradicted his cabinet colleague, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, who claimed some of the Nkandla houses that didn’t belong to President Jacob Zuma would be sold when his term ended.
Nxesi said houses occupied by support staff would be sold once Zuma’s term ended because they were not in his name.
But Nkwinti contradicted Nxesi in an unrelated response, saying houses on Ingonyama Trust Board land could not be sold off as the trust only leased land.
The Nkandla homestead is made up of “state-owned land” (Ingonyama Trust Board land) which covers 5.1598 hectares and the property of the president which covers 3.8324ha.
Nxesi’s spokesman Vuyo Bavuma confirmed that the minister made the remarks at one of his speaking engagements last week, before asking for questions to be sent to him via e-mail. One of the questions was whether the houses Nxesi was referring to were an exception to the rule and could be sold on the open market. He failed to respond by on Sunday.
In a written parliamentary response, Nkwinti said it was not “common practice” for the Ingonyama Trust Board to dispose of land but rather to let the land for various purposes to interested parties.
“This is subject to an agreement reached between the Ingonyama Trust Board and the Traditional Councils,” said Nkwinti.
Nkwinti was responding to a parliamentary question from DA MP John Steenhuisen who asked what process was followed when land under the Ingonyama Trust Board and traditional leadership was sold or let to developers and others, and to whom the proceeds of these transactions went.
“The rental rates vary from property to property. They depend on the locality of the property, its size and on its intended use. The rentals are payable to the Ingonyama Trust Board’s bank accounts and are disbursed as described above,” said Nkwinti.
He also revealed that Ingonyama had signed 2 149 leases since 2008 which would include Zuma’s R800-a-month lease.
“The proceeds of these transactions are deposited into the bank accounts of the Ingonyama Trust Board and distributed in terms of the board’s disbursement policy.”
Nkwinti said the beneficiaries were identified in terms of the land on which they resided and leases were signed on land which fell under the jurisdiction of certain traditional councils.