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KwaZulu-Natal schools affected by chieftaincy dispute to reopen after plea from premier Sihle Zikalala

Premier Sihle Zikalala is expected to lead a top delegation to meet KwaNyavu traditional leadership over chieftaincy dispute. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Premier Sihle Zikalala is expected to lead a top delegation to meet KwaNyavu traditional leadership over chieftaincy dispute. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 24, 2022

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DURBAN - PUPILS and teachers are expected to return to classes on Monday in all 11 schools under the KwaNyavu Traditional Council in Camperdown.

This after the traditional leadership heeded the call by Premier Sihle Zikalala to allow children to return to classes on Friday.

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When schools in the coastal provinces reopened on Wednesday, KwaNyavu pupils and teachers had to return home after some schools were locked with different padlocks by people suspected to be unhappy with an unresolved chieftaincy dispute involving the deposed inkosi and the widow of the late inkosi, Slonda Mdluli. Those schools which had opened had to quickly close after teachers received threats.

The spokesperson for the faction for deposed inkosi, Alson Mdluli told the Daily News on Sunday that although they did not know who had prevented schooling in the area but as the leadership they had told the community members to allow children to return to school without any disturbances. Mdluli refused to comment on the premier's imminent meeting with them, saying he would need to consult with headmen who met the government last week to see what they agreed on.

“I would not comment on that before I consult with headmen who met government officials. I'm not sure whether the date of the meeting you ask about could be communicated to me or to izinduna,” said Mdluli.

During the announcement of matric results on Friday, the premier expressed concerns that there was no teaching and learning in schools under KwaNyavu. The premier announced that together Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka, Transport, Safety and Community Liaison MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, as well as Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu, would soon meet the sides disputing the chieftaincy.

There has been a traditional leadership vacuum in the area after the provincial government deposed inkosi Sikhosiphi Mdluli in 2020 and replaced him with the widow of the late inkosi. The widow was said to have fled the area for fear of her life leaving the tribe with no leadership.

During a visit by the Daily News team in November to the mountainous area the deposed inkosi said he was removed without any explanation because in the letter it was said it was due to his misconduct but he was not told what he had done or called to a disciplinary hearing. The government also cut off his salary.

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During the local government elections special voting day schools used as polling stations were also found closed with different padlocks allegedly by people who wanted the deposed leader reinstated.

Electoral Commission of SA staff were threatened and this prompted Police Minister Bheki Cele to fly to the area to calm down the situation.

A school was burnt the night before the local government elections day on November 1.

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