Safety of traditional leaders is scrutinised

Published Jul 4, 2024


Durban — The newly appointed Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC in KwaZulu-Natal, Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi, has vowed to curb the bloodshed amid the spate of killings of traditional leaders (amakhosi).

Buthelezi, who is the prime minister of the Zulu monarch and former mayor of the Zululand District Municipality, held his first consultative meeting with the KZN Provincial House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders in Durban on Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Local Houses across the 11 districts in KZN – a province hit with the surging killings of amakhosi.

During the meeting, Buthelezi expressed his frustration at the astonishingly poor security for traditional leaders.

“We are also deeply concerned about the safety of amakhosi and this is why I have asked the department to investigate solutions that we can implement immediately to disrupt the scourge of the killing of amakhosi,” said Buthelezi.

He reiterated his sentiments during an interview with the Daily News.

“The killing of amakhosi has been a worrying scourge in our province. We’ll fight to end this and ensure the ultimate safety of amakhosi,” said Buthelezi.

He added: “We need to work with amakhosi to ensure that all their concerns are dealt with speedily.”

Buthelezi was announced by the new KZN Premier Thami Ntuli as one of the MECs when he announced his provincial cabinet last month.

Inkosi Sifiso Shinga, chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, laid bare their concerns to Buthelezi.

“Amakhosi of this province have a critical role to play in shaping the discourse around the institution of traditional leadership in our country.

“Our aim is to ensure that amakhosi are treated with utmost respect while also being allowed to champion development for our communities,” said Shinga.

Buthelezi promised to expedite solving the issues that were raised by the traditional leaders.

He said a follow-up meeting would be held between himself and Ntuli to chart a way forward over the security of traditional leaders.

More than 50 traditional leaders have been murdered in KZN since 2019, according to statistics presented by uBumbano Lwezinduna, an association representing traditional leaders in South Africa.

The organisation has been pleading for the government to intervene and provide security for the under-fire traditional leaders, especially in KZN.

Secretary-general of Ubumbano Lwezinduna, induna Falendoda Malinga, said: “We are hoping that the new leadership in KZN will prioritise the safety of traditional leaders, especially in KZN. We will continue to fight for the safety and well-being of our traditional leaders.”

Malinga decried the lack of convictions of the suspects who were behind the slaying of traditional leaders.

“We have many izinduna who have been killed in our province, but there are no convictions. We plead with police to thoroughly investigate such cases and bring the culprits to book,” said Malinga.

Amid the rising killings of traditional leaders, izinduna in KZN approached President Cyril Ramaphosa during his election campaign launch in Pietermaritzburg earlier this year.

Violence monitor and author Mary de Haas said: “I have followed up on izinduna illegally selling land belonging to families in their areas.”

She added: “All murders should be treated as very serious and properly investigated, not just izinduna and politicians.”

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Daily News