Chiefs want more money, greater power

AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Sigcawu and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane
AmaXhosa King Mpendulo Sigcawu and Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane Picture: LULAMILE FENI

Traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape want more money and power. They also want a 13th cheque and for the powers of premier Phumulo Masualle and future Eastern Cape premiers to be limited on traditional matters.

This emerged during public hearings for comments on the provincial amended Traditional Leadership and Governance Bill, which was passed by the Bhisho legislature last Thursday.

Royals across the province told the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs that 2017 was the year they should get salary increases and travel allowances.

Contacted for comment on Friday, department spokesman Mamkeli Ngam said he would only be able to provide information on how much traditional leaders currently earned by today.

However, it has previously been reported that headmen and women in the province are paid R90 320 a year, chiefs R179 000 and the three kings R973 350.

The bill, now only awaiting Masualle’s signature to become law, contains several amendments which will reduce the premier’s powers in deciding on traditional affairs.

If signed, the premier’s powers will be limited to just endorsing recommendations put forward by traditional councils in the affected communities.

In addition, should he sign the bill that has already been passed by the legislature, Masualle will no longer be able to summon a traditional leader to appear before him.

Rather, according to the amended Section 33 of the bill, the premier, who is currently empowered to summon a royal, will instead have to engage and “require” a meeting with a traditional leader to interrogate:

  • Any matter which is harming or likely to harm a traditional community;
  • Any matter of importance which directly or indirectly affects such traditional leader in his or her capacity as such; and
  • Any other matter likely to prejudicially affect the administration of the provincial government in the area of the traditional community.

ANC MPL Michael Peter said they supported the amended bill because it was “clear in defining powers and functions for structures” that exist within traditional communities.

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