Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has told thousands of his subjects at a traditional royal gathering, known as Imbizo, that he will not allow the South African government to take away land from him.
The king is opposed to a recommendation by a government panel which said that the land trust he presides over, the Ingonyama Trust, should be scrapped.
Through the trust, the monarch controls 30,000 sq km (11,600 sq miles) of land through traditional leaders who are appointed on behalf of communities.
But the leader of the government panel, former President Kgalema Motlanthe, wants people to be given title deeds for the land they occupy, saying they do not benefit from the king’s trust.
The king said that he will not give up land his forefathers fought for in colonial times.
Referring to his world-famous ancestor King Shaka, who founded the Zulu nation, King Zwelithini said: “I was born from a brave man and that is why I know I will be victorious against those who are trying to take my land.”
It comes at a crucial time as South Africa is debating changing the constitution to allow the expropriation of land without compensation to reverse colonial land distribution.
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