A SENIOR leader of the Komani branch of Isizwe sabaThembu has come down hard on the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL), saying they were abusing the nation by keeping quiet while King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo was incarcerated.
Dalindyebo is serving a 12-year jail term in the East London Maximum Prison for kidnapping, defeating the ends of justice, arson and assault.
Komani branch chairman Simon Bokwe said there were those among the nation who wanted President Jacob Zuma to remove the king, claiming they were speaking on behalf of the abaThembu nation, while that was not true.
“AbaThembu have sleepless nights about their king being jailed and yet chiefs are quiet as if nothing happened. What will help the abaThembu nation is to reunite after we were divided into 12 groups.
“The Nhlapo Commission report was hidden from the nation by the chiefs in Bhisho [ECHTL head office].
“Government called the chiefs to Bhisho and gave them the report, but they do not know it now.”
The Nhlapo Commission was set up by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2004 to investigate traditional leadership disputes. Bokwe said the commission had dethroned the king in Qamata, leaving the royal house empty.
“The ECHTL took headmen and sent them to municipalities as traditional leadership representatives without informing the abaThembu nation. Where is our king now? It seems things are done using the Transkei laws. The king is sentenced and the chiefs in Bhisho are quiet,” he said.
Bokwe said the ECHTL was not reporting anywhere, which meant the abaThembu had no leadership.
“ECHTL never reports on the money they get from government, yet they have salaries. The only thing they are concerned about is the boys who go to initiation schools because they gain something from it,” Bokwe said.
“Read this newspaper so we can start a debate and meet to further talk about these things.”
ECHTL provincial chairman Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said he did not even know Bokwe.
“Isizwe sabaThembu does not have branches, it is not a political party. It has chiefs. I do not know where he gets authority to speak on abaThembu matters,” Matanzima said.
He said the house was elected from 14 constituencies by chiefs who were, in turn, elected by people to give a mandate to those in the house.
Matanzima said Bokwe’s constituency was at Qamata Great Place, adding the place was not closed.
“The Nhlapo Commission never said Qamata must be closed. It said Matanzima’s house did not have traditional leadership authority. We then appealed it in the courts and won. Matanzima’s and Ngangelizwe’s houses are both royal.”
Matanzima said he did not know what other people wanted from the issues of other families “because we don’t speak on issues of other clans”.
On the issue of Dalindyebo, Matanzima said if people were charged for criminal offences, it was their job to defend themselves.
He said the ECHTL respected that a king or chief was put in power and removed again by his royal family.
“Chiefs can’t intervene or have opinions on other family issues. We can not talk about his arrest – evidence presented in court found him guilty.”