Headmen take state to court

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Headmen in Limpopo have taken the government and the Moseneke Commission to court, demanding to be paid better salaries and other benefits.

Thousands of headmen, mainly in the Mopani district, with support from some of their counterparts in Vhembe and Sekhukhune districts, have embarked on legal action.

They claim that headmen in Mopani earns a mere R1080 a month, while those in Sekhukhune get just more than R2000 and those in Vhembe earn R3500.

The headmen said they were also fighting to be recognised as traditional leaders, like other headmen in the province.

Headmen in Vhembe (the former Venda homeland) are recognised as traditional leaders, while those in Mopani are not allowed in the local and provincial houses of traditional leaders.

A spokesman for the headmen, Harry Mabunda of Mopani, said the headmen had had "no salary increase for 10 years".

"Some of us have two or more wives and children we have to support," Mabunda said. "But we cannot support our families on this small salary."

Themba Godi, president of the African People's Convention (APC), which is supporting the headmen, said the action was out of "desperation and frustration" over the government's lack of action in addressing the problems of headmen over the last 10 years.

Godi has held several meetings with traditional leaders throughout Limpopo over the last few weeks.

APC general secretary Malesela Ledwaba said the party would launch a national programme of action to address issues affecting traditional leaders at a rally in Botlokwa Ga-Machaka, Limpopo, on Saturday.