Niehaus went to Land Imbizo as a subject of KwaZulu-Natal
Spokesperson for the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association, Carl Niehaus, said he had every right - and a responsibility - to stand up for the African National Congress (ANC) at the Land Imbizo in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this week.
Niehaus said that as a member of the governing party, it was incumbent upon him to make it clear the ANC would not target the Ingonyama Trust, if and when it implements its expropriation without compensation programme.
He does not regret being at the Imbizo, but he does regret the confusion that had been created by his presence and message there.
Speaking to the SABC this week, Niehaus explained that a perception had been created at the Imbizo that the ANC was targeting the Ingoyama Trust.
He felt it prudent to try and clarify to King Goodwill Zwelithini and other traditional leaders that their futures were not in jeopardy.
Hence the apology for the treatment of traditional leaders. It is that apology that has created somewhat of a storm for the ANC, which launched a charm offensive in that province this weekend.
That included a visit to King Goodwill, explaining the ANC position and why he did not need to worry about expropriation.
"I went there as a subject of KwaZulu-Natal, I live in KwaZulu-Natal. And in the speech that I gave, I made it very clear because it was an invitation for participants in the Imbizo to come forward," said Niehaus.
"And when I got up I said, yes I am a member of the ANC, I am a member of MKMVA, but I am here in my personal capacity, as a member of the African National Congress. So, I am happy that the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association issued a letter of clarification, and then it says in the last paragraph, we apologise for any kind of misunderstanding," added Niehaus.
"I do not apologise for having gone there. I think it was very important that I stood up, when it was clear to me that there was a misunderstanding about the position of the African National Congress, with regard to the Ingonyama Trust.
"The misunderstanding was that the ANC had supposedly taken a position against the Ingonyama Trust. A very negative perception was developing at the Imbizo. I had, as a member of the African National Congress, a duty to come forward and then say this is not correct."
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