Nonkonyana challenges his removal
Durban - Ousted Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Inkosi Mwelo Nonkonyana has filed papers with Bisho High Court challenging his removal.
In court papers that were filed by his lawyers, S Nginda Attorneys INC, Nonkonyana had also appealed to the court to prohibit the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) from taking away a vehicle “and other equipment and devices” that had been assigned to him to carry out his official duties as the head of traditional leaders.
He also asked that he be allowed to continue occupying his state-owned official residence in King Williams Town, to be continued be paid his remuneration by Cogta, and that acting chairperson Inkosi Langa Mavuso be barred from authorising the sitting of the house.
“We wish to advise you (court) that the House acted manifestly illegal in that section 11 of the second schedule to Eastern Cape Traditional Leadership and Governance Act No.1 of 2017 sets out the process needed to be followed by the House before it could consider removing our client from his position,” read the court papers.
Nonkonyana also wanted the court to nullify the appointment of Vuyani Mbenga as the house’s sergeant at arms “without the consultation with the provincial House on 30 July 2000,” which he alleged was done by Cogta’s head of department.
Nkonyana’s lawyers had revealed that they had been informed that soon after their client was ousted, provincial Cogta deputy director general incharge of traditional affairs Tandabantu Gwebindlala requested Nonkonyana to surrender the state vehicle allocated to him.
“Our client, having approached us for advice, we then advised him not to do so and he advised the Deputy Director General accordingly,” the lawyers said.
The lawyers said Nonkonyana wanted the interdict to be issued yesterday afternoon.
“However, should we not receive an undertaking, our instructions are to institute an urgent application to interdict the department and the house and to protect the right of our client and to seek cost on punitive, attorney and own client scale.”
Provincial Cogta spokesperson Makhaya Komisa said the department would not be drawn into the matter as it had nothing to do with the ousting of Nkonyana.
“This was done by Langa Mavuso (and other members of the house) and not Cogta,” said.
When asked about stripping Nonkonyana of his tools of trade, including the state house, Komisa said: “I don’t want us to gallop in front of the processes because the department has not yet done that.
“Hence I am saying I cannot talk about the thing that has not happened as no letter has been written to him asking him to return those things.
“Legally if he is no longer the chairperson those things would be taken, but up to now there is nothing taken because even the position of the chairperson has not yet been filled as when he appealed this (expulsion) the status quo will remain.
“Therefore we will wait until the whole process is completed before we say ‘you are indeed removed, give back what belongs to the department’,” said Komisa.
However, Mavuso put his foot down saying that the house would soon take everything that was given to Nonkonyana. He said the house had filed a notice of intention to oppose Nonkonyana’s legal action and that it was currently working on the actual papers.
“We have started consultation yesterday (Friday) with the state attorney, Advocate Bhodlane will be our senior counsel, and we are opposing everything that Nonkonyana stated on those papers.
“We are taking the car, we are taking the house and we are stopping his salary and we will continue with the business of the house since there is no court order saying we must not do that,” said Mavuso.
He said the house would stop taking things from Nonkonyana only if the court interdicted it.
“But we will oppose even that interdict,” he said.
He said the house intended to elect Nonkonyana’s replacement on August 12.