AmaBhaca community protest against King Thandisizwe Diko being caught up in PPE tender scandal
Cape Town – Some members of the AmaBhaca nation in the Eastern Cape protesting on Thursday accused their controversial traditional leader, Inkosi Thandisizwe Diko, of being the reason they did not have water and access to roads.
They also rejected Diko’s alleged claim that he was their king, as he referred to himself as King Madzikane II.
Instead of sympathising with him, residents of Ncunteni village in Mount Frere had expressed excitement about Diko’s PPE troubles.
“We were very happy when we saw him facing troubles as we felt that what he does here (in his village) without authorities taking actions when we complain is good, as when he does it nationally, he is getting exposed as to what kind of a person he is,” said community spokesperson Nqwala Khanyisa.
Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, is embroiled in a R125 million Gauteng Department of Health Covid-19 personal protective equipment scandal.
Members of his village accuse him of having monopolised a number of their community development projects, including those involving Jo-Jo tanks.
“Since the community projects are kept in his palace, including those that are meant to help children who do not have parents, we believe that it is corruption, which we have been complaining about.
“We are happy that since he has taken his corrupt activities to national level he would be dealt with because no one pays attention when we complain about him,” said Khanyisa.
Khanyisa also accused Diko of having closed a main local road with a locked gate and a heap of soil to prevent vehicles, including ambulances and hearses, from driving past his palace.
He said the community hall had, allegedly due to Diko, been turned into a building bricks factory operated by foreign nationals.
“We benefit nothing from the Bhaca Royal Protect and his royal family,” said Khanyisa.
He said the community did not recognise Diko’s kingship claims.
“We grew up knowing his late father as the chief, and he (Diko) took over as the chief and we knew him as the chief.
“All of a sudden he became a king, but when we questioned that with local chiefs, they also said the AmaBhaca nation does not have a king and they know Thandisizwe as the chief of only two villages, Bhaco and Ncunteni,” he said.
“We have no relationship with him, as we are not allowed into the palace and he does not communicate with us,” Khanyisa added.
When contacted, Diko’s relative, Simphiwe Bhaca Makaula, declined to comment, and instead he sent Independent Media a media statement that lashed out at him for being implicated in the alleged corrupt activities.
Repeated attempts to contact Diko were unsuccessful as he did not answer his phone and also did not respond to a WhatsApp message sent to him, although there was an indication that he had read it.
Diko’s family spokesperson, Lumko Mtimde, said: “IKomkhulu will issue a formal statement responding to these. It's being finalised now through the Royal processes.”