Durban - In a call that is likely to be rejected by some, ANC stalwart Meshack Radebe says izinduna - headmen - should be elected through a voting process, just like ward councillors.

The former KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC and deputy speaker in the provincial legislature said izinduna earn around R12000 per month yet account to no one.

He made this call in Umgababa, south of Durban, yesterday during a commemorative event hosted by the eThekwini municipality to remember people who perished while fighting for freedom, as well as those who died during black-on-black violence of the late 80s and early 90s.

“We should introduce a private members bill that will make it compulsory for headmen to be elected into office every five years, because they get paid, but they account to no one. All that they do is move around to feast on meat. When there is something wrong in societies, only councillors are blamed or held accountable. What are the headmen doing?” Radebe asked.

From ancient times, izinduna have been appointed by amakhosi, assisted by an inner council of men and women. The public is hardly involved.

Radebe said he had already sold the idea to the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and to Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

“A few weeks ago I spoke to Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi. I said to them if you, as traditional leaders, are held accountable, why are izinduna not held accountable as well,” he said.

Radebe said while the government was working hard to alleviate poverty, it would “take years to reverse the legacy of 350 years of apartheid”.

Speaking in isiZulu, he lamented the poverty experienced by some citizens, saying they even struggled to put a modest meal on the table, while some in their communities were spoilt for choice in what to eat.

He pleaded with ANC politicians to work hard to ensure that people were swiftly pulled out of poverty.

“Yes, we cannot undo that overnight, it will take us years to reverse the legacy of 350 years of apartheid. However, we will slowly work hard to turn the situation around and reach out to these families,” he said.'

Political Bureau