R12,000 monthly stipend laughable, say traditional leaders
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) has issued a warning to the governing party, saying the ANC-led government must fulfil promises it made to them or face being rejected by the organisation going into the May 8 elections.
This was a resolution at the Contralesa national executive committee meeting held at the weekend.
The traditional leaders' body also took a decision to request a meeting with ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and the rest of the party's national officials.
Contralesa president Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena said they have had enough of "being used like a tea bag" by an ANC which keeps making promises that it never fulfils.
"Here we are being used like teabags which you throw away after using it ... because we know that after elections this government will not be prepared to talk to us," said Mokoena.
"We have declared that if the president does not meet us before the elections, we are calling a national general council of the coalition of traditional leaders in the country to give direction to our people about what is it that we want.
"We are sick and tired of being discriminated, disrespected and treated like nobodies.
"Yet we are told we must go motivate our people to vote, how can we be expected to do that when I cannot answer a simple question of what this government has done for us," said Mokoena.
Chief among Contralesa's demands to the ANC would be a review of the stipend paid to traditional chiefs by the government.
Mokoena said the average R12,000 stipend was "laughable" and disrespectful to traditional leaders and the role they play.
Contralesa is also demanding pension benefits for traditional leaders which they currently do not have. Mokoena said the meeting that they have requested with the ANC leadership must happen before the elections because they were wary of dramatic U-turns after elections.
Contralesa will once again lobby the president to pardon jailed AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo. Mokoena said it was "scandalous" of the ANC government to pardon apartheid killers and "rejoice" in keeping traditional leaders who erred in prison.
"Our government is happy that there are apartheid killers who killed our comrades such that some families still do not know where the graves of their loved ones are located and this government is prepared to forgive those people such as Adriaan Vlok and Eugene de Kock who are enjoying life with their families as we speak.
"But Dalindyebo, our very own, is languishing in jail under our own black government. We are not saying he did no wrong because he was found guilty and we respect the rule of law - which also gives the president powers to pardon a prisoner - which is all we are asking for in the case of King Dalindyebo," said Mokoena.
"It is a scandal that this government cannot forgive their own but our previous enemies who killed our families are easily pardoned."
The traditional leaders are also fuming at what they call service delivery that is "biased towards cities and townships".
"During elections, people who go out to vote in number are in the jurisdiction of traditional leadership but service delivery is poor," said Mokoena.