Durban - Traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal have cautioned against any moves to divide up land under their authority, or to impose municipal rates on residents who live under their jurisdiction without their consent.
This sentiment was expressed by Amakhosi as the Municipal Demarcation Board continues to get input about proposals regarding changes to municipal boundaries.
Inkosi Nhlakanipho Maphumulo said it was important to revisit how some of the wards had previously been split up in amakhosi-run areas across the province. He insisted that such a move had in some instances created confusion for residents.
“There are instances under the system where one’s property falls within two wards, something that simply does not make sense. In fact such a move creates confusion that is unnecessary. That is why we are of the view that it needs revisiting,” he said yesterday.
He indicated that the view had formed part of the submissions they had made to the board. Apart from the case of land falling within two wards, KZN also has a case where traditional leader-owned land falls within two municipalities.
According to Maphumulo, areas in KwaXimba fall within uMgungundlovu District and eThekwini Metro. Inkosi Zini Mpungose, whose area falls within Ulundi and Mthonjaneni Municipalities, said proper consultation processes regarding the proposals would alleviate confusion. Mpungose was emphatic that rates would not be allowed on traditional leadership-owned land.
“We have instances where people are leaving townships and coming to live in areas under the control of amakhosi because of rates.
“It would not make sense then to charge them rates because that is what many people are running from,” she added.
Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi said some of the decisions taken by the demarcation board were questionable, and even showed a lack of regard for traditional leadership.
He warned about the potential for division among people falling under one traditional leader but within different wards and councillors.
“The sense of unity within a nation is at risk when it comes to accessing
services because in one area they could be getting serviced while others are not, yet they have one leader. That becomes difficult to navigate,” said Buthelezi.
He insisted that local governance in particular would continue to be negatively affected in KZN because of a failure to accommodate and include the input of traditional leaders.
“The problem here is that in some instances some of the moves made appear to be box-ticking exercises so that an impression could be created that people’s views were considered when they were not. It is important this is not done to traditional leaders. Their input must be taken seriously,” Inkosi Buthelezi said.
KZN House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Inkosi Sifiso Shinga said their inclusion and involvement in the process was important.
“In any given setting there are no instances where decisions get imposed, so in the case of any determination of the wards or even consideration of whether to impose rates there would need to be a discussion with traditional leaders,” said Shinga.
Demarcation Board spokesperson Barileng Dichabe said they were in the process of compiling the submissions that had been made as part of the public participation process.