Kgosi Setlamorage Thobejane is the president of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa).
Durban - Cracks have emerged within the leadership of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) as traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal are against a call by their president, Kgosi Setlamorago Thobejane, for traditional leaders to form their own political party and to contest elections.

Thobejane, an ANC member who recently resigned as an MP, made the call last week as he was unhappy with the way the government was dealing with traditional leaders and rural areas.

Thobejane said rural people, under traditional leadership, were running out of patience with the lack of service delivery. He had said members of Contralesa would meet in July to discuss forming the new party.

“The way our people are responding and pushing, the end of the year is too long, they want the party now,” said Thobejane.

However, KZN traditional leaders said instead of Contralesa breaking away from its ally, the ANC, they should co-operate, because President Jacob Zuma had policies to address their challenges.

Inkosi Ngangendlovu Mchunu, from uMsinga, is a member of Contralesa’s provincial executive committee, although he said he was speaking in his personal capacity. He was totally against Thobejane’s move for a political party.

“We should instead be supportive of the ANC government,” Mchunu said.

Power

“Since Zuma came to power in 2009, the ANC has come up with a policy to focus on developing rural areas. We should be encouraging the implementation of the ANC policy on rural development,” he added.

Mchunu said Contralesa provincial chairman Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza and provincial secretary Inkosi Nhlakanipho Maphumulo had rejected the political party when they first heard about it.

Mchunu described those who wanted to form the political party as “opportunists” who wanted senior positions in government.

“If you are traditional leaders, you are a father of all people in your clan. If you are drawn into politics, you end up forgetting you are the father of the clan, and end up pushing policies of the political party, instead of treating people as your children. To be involved in development issues does not mean you should be a councillor, MEC or a minister.

“We should sit down with the government of the day and tell them where they are lacking, and help it to function,” he said.

Mchunu, however, agreed with Thobejane’s call for traditional leaders to be afforded an annual budget for their traditional councils.

Thobejane said last week all traditional leaders and kings should be allocated a budget.

Mchunu is unhappy that traditional leaders do not have pension, medical aids, home and car allowances.

He said without having to form a political party, traditional leaders should unite to fight for their annual budget and relevant benefits.

Daily News