Martin van Staden

Libertarian Jurisprudence & Free Market Economics

The Ingonyama Trust Should Keep Its Promises and Entrench Property Rights

Co-authored with Mpiyakhe Dhlamini and Christo Hattingh.

During the opening of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders in 2016 in Ulundi, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said that people who live on Ingonyama Trust land would start receiving title deeds. Since then, no further information from the king or the Ingonyama Trust Board has been forthcoming.

Untitled communal land represents dead capital: It cannot be used by the people living on the land as an economic asset since there is no individual ownership that can be transferred or used as collateral to, for example, secure a business startup loan. There are many other deficiencies, too, which inevitably led to a situation where people have “land tenure” but cannot use that land to lift themselves out of poverty. In other words, they have occupation and use of the land, but are still poor. They are vassals.

This is a clear indication that the right to trade something is just as important as the right to use something. Untitled communal land is the property equivalent of massive government infrastructure projects where people are “employed” for a limited amount of time, causing unemployment numbers to drop temporarily, but delivering no sustained growth and no sustained upskilling.

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