Community want headmen out

Early this week the community of Hewu invited cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) representatives to a meeting in the Methodist Church hall in Sada to address difficulties they had with the house of the chief.

Chairperson of the Hewu rural community Andile Sishuba said as an executive member of the village he had never seen the chief of his community. “The chief imposed headmen on us and since then we have not seen development in this community,” Sishuba said.

Members of the community attended the meeting in numbers and aggressively addressed the issues.

All confirmed that they had never seen the chief and were unhappy with the work of the headmen.

“We respect the chief and the royal house. We do want headmen, but we want them to be elected democratically.

“We want leaders who we trust and have interest in the development of this community. The house of our chief does not even have electricity, which confirms that they do not care,” Zweledinga Mabece, a concerned villager said.

Villagers also said ever since the government had started paying traditional leaders this had become a problem. It was obvious that what the leaders cared about was the money.

Spokespeople made it clear that the customary law of their village was to identify headmen and they did not appreciate imposed headmen, especially if they do not attend to their duties.

“This village is under the Rarabe kingdom, which is why I came. I am here to advise that you go to the chief to have your difficulties solved. Meeting in the absence of the chief might result in more difficulties,” Nkosi Jezile, the provincial chairperson, said.

Jezile added that by government laws, no one had the authority to remove headmen before their term ended.

Chief director of Cogta, Mboniswa Nodlabi, said royalty was not for the department it was for the nation. The department’s duty was to enforce government laws and standardise them with African laws.

“On January 17 the chief excused himself from this meeting as he had a meeting to attend.

“The chief said he was very disappointed that his community had gone to the premier’s office. He said he could solve issues of his nation and his house was open to anyone,” Mboniswa Nodlabi, the chief director said.

The villagers expressed dissatisfaction with Nodlabi’s response and showed proof of several letters they had written asking for a meeting with the royal house.

The executive forum implied that the chief’s explanation was an excuse not to attend the meeting.

Jezile concluded that the king himself had to be part of this kind of meeting, promising the displeased villagers that he would get the king to set a date to meet with them and their traditional leaders.

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