'MEC is sowing disunity'

UNDER FIRE: Eastern Cape MEC Toko Xasa. Pic. 21/05/2007. © Unknown
UNDER FIRE: Eastern Cape MEC Toko Xasa. Pic. 21/05/2007. © Unknown

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Mwelo Nonkonyana, the chairman of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) in Eastern Cape, yesterday accused housing and local government MEC Toko Xasa of trying to divide traditional leaders in the province.

His accusations come after Xasa removed Nonkonyana's name from the list of traditional leaders who were sworn into the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHOTL) during an inauguration in Bhisho last week.

Xasa said she had done this because, according to legislation, Nonkonyana had to first resign as an ANC MP if he wanted to become a member of the ECHOTL.

However, Nonkonyana said: "When I went to the inauguration in Bhisho, I was armed with my resignation letter.

"But Xasa decided not to listen to me," said Nonkonyana, who is also vice-president of the SA Football Association.

He said he was recalled to serve on ECHOTL.

He claimed he was surprised when the MEC removed his name without consulting him or other leaders.

"She wants to divide the unity of traditional leaders," he alleged.

"On June 1 traditional leaders will convene a general meeting to map the way forward.

"In the meantime, I will go back to parliament. Contralesa has taken up the matter with other traditional leaders," he said.

Xasa said Nonkonyana did not meet the criteria for ECHOTL and was, therefore, ineligible to be sworn in.

She denied claims that she wanted to divide the traditional leaders in the province.

Xasa said she had not received proof from Nonkonyana that he had resigned as an ANC MP.

She would not say whether the decision might be reviewed and possibly reversed should Nonkonyana decide to appeal against the removal of his name.

"All I can say now is that we will be guided by the legislation and follow proper procedures," said Xasa.