Prominent traditional leader Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana has vowed to go to court to challenge his removal as the chairperson of Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders.
Prominent traditional leader Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana has vowed to go to court to challenge his removal as the chairperson of Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders.

Eastern Cape leader not taking his removal lying down

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Aug 5, 2020

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Johannesburg - Eastern Cape traditional leader Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana says he will not take his removal as the chairperson of the provincial House of Traditional Leaders lying down, and claims that this is a result of years of conspiracy against him.

According to Nonkonyana, he intends to approach the Bhisho High Court in a bid to overturn a successful vote of no confidence against him last week by members of the house.

He highlighted that among some of the charges which led to his removal were that in April he allegedly influenced mourners to breach Covid-19 lockdown regulations. It was also said that he was practising as a full-time lawyer while he was the chairperson, and was divisive while in office.

“I wish to advise the public that ever since I was elected chairman of the House, I have received a hostile reception from the secretary of the House and some senior officials in the department,” Nonkonyana said in a statement released through the Bhala Tribal Authority.

“For instance, even though I was entitled to an official vehicle with an official driver as well as the official residence on the day I was elected three years ago, these were not provided to me,” he said.

Immediately after the vote of no confidence, the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the province issued a statement saying that Nonkonyana and another leader, Nkosi Vuyani Gwebindlala, had been accused of bringing the House into disrepute.

“Nkosi Nonkonyana is also said to have violated the regulations of the national lockdown on Covid-19 during the funeral of a member of his family Seven members voted against the motion while 25 voted for (it),” read the Cogta statement.

Nonkonyana said he was only given an official residence in January 2018 and an official car three months later. “I have not been given a driver to date. Other members of the executive committee, besides the deputy, were given light delivery vehicles and no executive cars, as their predecessors in office had. They have not been given official residences to date.”

He said he had filed the court application to overturn the motion to remove him, and accused two leaders in the house of leading the conspiracy.

He said allegations that he practised as a full-time advocate while he was chairperson of the House were baseless.

“I closed my practice in 2017 - the same year I became chairman. I have taken all legal steps necessary to clear my name and to protect the struggle of traditional leaders of South Africa to be a part of governance at all spheres of government.”

Provincial Cogta spokesperson Makhaya Komisa said while the department would not be drawn into claims as this was an internal matter, “the MEC is accepting the decision because it is an outcome of a democratic process. We know that he is unhappy, but unfortunately this was not done by the department”.

He referred all further queries to acting chairperson Langa Mavuso, who said due process was followed in Nonkonyana’s removal.

“He was removed because he transgressed a rule of practising as an advocate while he was a full-time member of the House,” said Mavuso.

He indicated that Covid-19 violation charges had been referred to the rule and ethics committee for investigation.

“Otherwise he has been removed based on Section 80 of the act, which is ‘a two-third’s majority can remove a sitting chairperson’. We have not filed responding papers, but if he is going to court we will defend our position.”

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