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IFP calls on KZN government to stop meddling in traditional leadership disputes

The IFP says a line needs to be drawn on how far Cogta can go in its involvement in traditional leadership disputes.
The IFP says a line needs to be drawn on how far Cogta can go in its involvement in traditional leadership disputes.
Image: File/ Sandile Ndlovu

The IFP has called on the KwaZulu-Natal government to stop meddling and taking sides in traditional leadership disputes.

The IFP said on Wednesday it was unhappy about the decision by the KwaZulu-Natal department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) to oppose the reinstatement of inkosi Sikhosiphi Mdluli as the chief of KwaNyavu.

The Pietermaritzburg high court in April reinstated Mdluli who had been stripped off the chieftaincy by premier Sihle Zikalala in 2020 amid a chieftaincy dispute between inkosi Mdluli and the widow of the late inkosi Slonda Mdluli.

“We have noted that with regards to court cases, the KZN MEC for Cogta recently announced that the department would approach the court after the Pietermaritzburg high court ruled that Inkosi Sikhosiphi Mdluli of KwaNyavu must be reinstated to his position,” the IFP said.

“Its conduct is out of hand and uncalled for. It has become the norm for the KZN department of Cogta to interfere in traditional leadership disputes and to take sides. In doing so, government worsens tensions among the families of amakhosi.”

The department should come clean and clarify if they are taking sides in this dispute, as it is unclear whether it is the Mdluli family or the government disputing this traditional leadership succession.

In the case involving the Mdletshe clan, the premier and the MEC for Cogta, the court ruled against the apparent irregular appointment of Zolani Mdletshe as inkosi of the Mdletshe traditional community.

“It is unfortunate that those amakhosi who cannot afford to take government to court due to financial constraints are defeated by government which has the financial capacity to fight legal battles.”

The IFP also raised concern about the resources the department is spending on legal battles against amakhosi over leadership disputes, which they say is about R7.4m in the past seven years.

That money should rather be used to increase salaries of traditional leaders and capacitate traditional leadership structures with resources.

“It further seems that traditional structures are being made redundant, as they are forced to beg for support with insufficient resources being allocated to them to fulfil their allotted duties. This means they are entirely dependent on Cogta, as they have no budget.

“It defies belief — as amakhosi fall under Cogta — but it appears that Cogta has declared war against one of its own entities.”

Cogta did not immediately respond to questions by SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE.


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