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KwaZulu-Natal government to spend R630m to backpay traditional headmen

KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma announced the backpay for izinduna. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma announced the backpay for izinduna. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 28, 2023


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal government will finally fork out R630 million backpay to traditional headmen.

This was announced by the ANC provincial chairperson Siboniso Duma while closing the party’s two-day lekgotla (meeting) in Durban on Monday.

In his closing address, Duma said his party had great respect for traditional leadership since it played a role when it was founded in 1912.

Announcing the settlement, Duma said the Treasury had allocated the budget and izinduna would be paid in the financial year which starts in April.

Welcoming the good news, Phakathi Dlamini who is the chairperson of Ubumbano Lwezinduna – a structure that has been fighting for the backpay since 2017 – said they were happy that the matter had reached finality.

He thanked the ANC leadership in the province for being on their side when they were fighting the national government to release the money.

Dlamini said although the payment came after many headmen had died, their families would be happy that what they fought for had been realised at last.

“I think we must credit the ANC provincial leadership for its consistency in fighting alongside us in this war and we are glad that we have finally won. I can confirm that I was at the lekgotla and the party formally told us that the money has been allocated by the national treasury,” said Dlamini.

Sipho Nkosi, the chairperson of the treasury portfolio committee in the province also confirmed that the agreement to pay izinduna had been finally reached.

Nkosi said his committee and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs together with izinduna representatives had been at the neck of national treasury officials fighting for the release of the money and were happy that the headmen would finally get their benefits.

In total there are an estimated 3 000 headmen who will benefit from R630 million backpay. Each induna will receive about R270 000 cash. The backpay figure was initially estimated to be around R1.5 billion, but was later revised down to over R600 million after it was realised that not all Izinduna were there when then-president Jacob Zuma signed the proclamation in 2014.

When the proclamation was made it was said the payment of izinduna would be backdated to 2013, but they received their first payment in 2017 with no backpay.

Since then they had been fighting with the government and at some stage threatened to cause chaos during the elections or boycott elections.

The backpay was expected to help the party win traditionalists especially in rural areas which are a stronghold of the IFP.

In rural areas, traditional leaders still wield influence over their subjects. With this announcement, Duma marshalled his ground forces to get 2.5 million votes in next year’s general election.

He said if Gauteng could also get 2.5 million votes and with the contributions of the provinces, the party would retain power.

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