Furore over Venda kingship report

A leaked report on Venda kingship says that Masindi Mphephu is the rightful heir to the Venda throne./KEVIN SUTHERLAND
A leaked report on Venda kingship says that Masindi Mphephu is the rightful heir to the Venda throne./KEVIN SUTHERLAND

Miffed Venda traditional leaders have resolved to pull out from the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL), accusing it of undermining their culture.

The leaders said they were disturbed by the work assigned to NHTL's national and provincial offices which was leaked to the media with "aggressive misinformation".

This after the Supreme Court of Appeal directed President Cyril Ramaphosa and premier Stan Mathabatha to refer issues of customary laws and customs to the NHTL for opinion and advice to be submitted to the high court.

The report recommended that Princess Masindi Mphephu is the rightful heir to the Venda throne instead of King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana.

Venda traditional kingship council spokesperson Chief Mbangiseni Masia has accused the NHTL of not helping in preserving their customs.

"The Vhavenda traditional leaders have been observing with disappointment endeavors to undermine Venda traditions and customs in many areas where there are disputes. Traditional leaders with no knowledge of Venda tradition have been deployed to adjudicate on matters they do not have competence on. This, in our view, is a calculated effort to erode our customs and traditions," Masia said.

He said all 28 chiefs in Venda do not recognise the report because "it is flawed".

Masia said they have written to the NHTL informing it of the resolution. "At the moment we have not received any communication from the house regarding the resolution to withdraw our membership," he said.

Department of traditional affairs spokesperson Motupa Selomo referred inquiries to the NHTL which said the provincial office should be contacted. Provincial HTL chairperson Chief Malesela Dikgale said it was regrettable that the Venda traditional leaders felt they were undermined.

"We didn't do anything wrong. We were directed to comply with the court order and we commissioned researchers to assist us in this regard. Unfortunately, the document was somehow leaked." He said they would engage with the concerned leaders.

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