KwaZulu-Natal’s traditional leaders plead for protection

By Celani Sikhakhane

As traditional leaders gathered on Sunday for the funeral of Induna Squmfe David Mkhize in Durban, many felt that their situation had never felt more perilous.

This comes after the number of traditional leaders who have been killed in KZN since 2012 increased last week from 42 to 55.

Three traditional leaders were assassinated at their homes last week in the space of five days.

Induna Mkhize of Mbumbulu, south of Durban, was assassinated last week while he was with his family.

Likewise, Inkosi Zwelakhe Ndaba of Ntabamhlophe in Estcourt and Inkosi Walter Ngcono of the Thoyane Traditional Council in Mgababa were also targeted while with their families.

Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi of the Mbongombongweni Traditional Council under the Zululand Traditional House of Leaders told Scrolla.Africa that they feel undermined for not being provided     with security like politicians.

“When a ward councillor claims that he has been attacked, he or she gets a quick response from the government by being given a special threat analysis and heavy security,” Inkosi Buthelezi said.

“But when it comes to traditional leaders it seems like our lives do not matter at all because no threat analysis has been conducted with those who have survived attacks and no security has been provided.”

He said that this makes them wonder if the minister believes that the right to life that is enshrined in the Constitution really applies to traditional leaders.

The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in 2016 spent more than R500 million on the VIP protection of councillors.

Buthelezi said the most painful part is that most of the killings of traditional leaders have not resulted in successful arrests.

“Government doesn’t take us seriously but when elections come they rush to us to seek our authority to talk to our people.

“People no longer trust politicians. They trust us as their honest leaders who will always be with them even after five years, but our lives seem to be undermined by government,” he said.

Cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila said that MEC Bongi maSithole Moloi is in negotiations with the Department of  Community Safety and Police to strengthen the safety of the traditional leaders who are in danger.

Pictured above: iNduna Squmfe David Mkhize who was a leader of Ubuhle beMbumbu and UMhlabuhlangene regiments was laid to rest on Sunday at Mbumbulu in Durban

Image source: Department of Arts and Culture


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