Traditional leaders appeal for help as killings continue in KZN

By Lethiwe Makhanya

Unresolved disputes and power struggles continue to decimate traditional leadership structures in KwaZulu-Natal, says an expert in the sector after another traditional leader was murdered in the province late last week.

Induna Duduzile Mchunu from Qhiph’khowe, serving under Inkosi Mchunu within the Alfred Duma Local Municipality, was murdered in her home on Thursday by unknown assailants.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi said it is distressing that such a tragedy has befallen a female leader at a time when the country is actively calling for peace and the protection of women as a whole through the 16 days of activism against the abuse of women and children campaign.

“As the department we wish to convey our deepest concern and heartfelt condolences to the grieving Mchunu clan, friends, and the entire community she was serving,” she said.

We plead with any community members who may have information that could lead to arrest of the perpetrators to work with law enforcement agencies

Sithole-Moloi added that they are committed to exploring sustainable measures to improve security in areas where traditional leaders reside.

“Our main objective is to ensure the safety of the entire community, and we urge everyone to join forces with the police in combatting the scourge of these heinous crimes,” the MEC said.

Phakamani Dlamini, the chairperson of the Ubumbano LweZinduna in KwaZulu-Natal, said the latest killing underscores the urgency that is needed to prioritise safety and security.

Dlamini said the increase in the number of murders is concerning. He said since 2019, more than 50 of izinduna and amakhosi have been killed.

As traditional leaders we are living in fear, we need protection. Some of us have survived assassinations and others know that they are going to be killed. Nothing is being done

“We cannot hide the fact that unresolved disputes and squabbles for positions are the causes of these killings.

“Another contributing factor is that some of the people that we are leading are criminals who do not want to follow the customary law. If they are found guilty, they choose to kill their leaders.”

Dlamini said that in previous engagements with the government they were told that the Constitution does not provide for security for traditional leaders and as such is not budgeted for.

This means that we are on our own and no one is feeling safe, which is why us as traditional leadership we need to put our political affiliations aside and deal with the problem that we are facing together.

This article first appeared in The Witness on 14 December 2023.

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