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IFP-run municipality ready to defy Cogta over bodyguards for Amakhosi

Mthonjaneni mayor, Mbangiseni Biyela. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/Daily News

Mthonjaneni mayor, Mbangiseni Biyela. Picture: Sihle Mavuso/Daily News

Published May 19, 2022

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Durban - Yet another IFP-run local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal is set to lock horns with the ANC-run provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) over issues of security roles.

The Melmoth-based Mthonjaneni Local Municipality has vowed that it will go ahead with plans to provide three of its Amakhosi (local chiefs) with bodyguards amid the rising number of killings of traditional leaders and their headmen (Izinduna) in the province.

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Speaking to the media post an IDP/Budget dinner which was held at Mthonjaneni Lodge on Wednesday evening, Mayor Mbangiseni Biyela insisted that part of their R227 million budget would go to ensuring that the traditional leaders are protected.

In the past six months, in KZN alone, several Amakhosi and headmen have been killed. That has sparked fears that they are being targeted by a political and criminal syndicate.

Recently, outgoing Cogta MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, convened a summit to find a solution to the scourge, but the resolutions of the meeting were never publicly released.

In response to the challenge, some municipalities in the IFP-run King Cetshwayo District Municipality, which Mthonjaneni is part of, announced measures to provide the traditional leaders with armed bodyguards.

Cogta responded by raising its ire, saying the municipalities were taking over roles that are not legally reserved for it in the constitution.

However, on Wednesday Biyela said they are not backing down and they are ready to defend themselves in a court of law.

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“Cogta does not care about our issue and Amakhosi, we have seen Amakhosi falling victims of criminals, every day they are killed together with councillors and they don’t care to get them protected. We then said they should be protected based on the little money that we have.

“Likewise, we decided that Amakhosi should be protected as well, we won't stand idle. We are planning to ensure that each of our three Amakhosi has a bodyguard. We have noted the noise and we are saying Amakhosi will be guarded, they will sue us along the way to get this done,” he said.

The local municipality has three traditional leaders. Inkosi Zulu of Ntembeni tribal authority and two traditional leaders of the Biyela clans of Yanguye and Obuka.

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Asked about the desire to go ahead with the plans, despite being warned that it is illegal to do so, Nonala Ndlovu, the spokesperson of KZN Cogta said the role is reserved for the SAPS, not municipalities.

“All government departments, entities including municipalities, are established in terms of the law to serve a particular purpose in the society. The question of safety and security is squarely the primary responsibility of the SAPS and not any other entity of the state.

“The SAPS knows precisely all the applicable protocols and procedures involved whenever a public representative or any member of the public is to be provided with some form of protection,” Ndlovu said.

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NOTE: The Daily News will next week run a story detailing how fighting between ANC and IFP-run local and district municipalities stalled the Thubalethu housing project along the R66 on your way to Ulundi. The project of 600 houses was started in 2011 and it is now crumbling because of the bickering.

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Daily News

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