The DA will request the MEC of Corporative Governance and Traditional Leaders Affairs (CoGTA), Sipho Hlomuka, to investigate allegations of intimidation of Amajuba Izinduna.
The reported intimidation by CoGTA officials of the Izinduna to not engage with the DA on matters concerning them is unacceptable and makes a mockery of our hard fought democracy.
It further came to light that one of the officials has allegedly threatened the Izinduna with legal action for calling and attending the meeting. The DA rejects this form of intimidation in a constitutional democracy and as elected representatives and legislators we will continue to engage with every and all stakeholders in KZN. Quite simply CoGTA should focus on implementing its mandate.
The DA continues to respect and acknowledge the importance of traditional leadership and the role that they fulfil in our communities. The delegation from the DA was made up of members of the KZN Legislature and councillors, led by myself.
The Izinduna raised serious concerns about the poor communication and lack of interest displayed by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs when dealing with the challenges faced by the Izinduna. It was further highlighted that communication breakdowns and lack of support had collapsed since Sihle Zikalala had taken over the office of the Premier from Willies Mchunu.
The greatest challenge raised at the engagement was the disparities in remuneration received by the Izinduna and the unresolved matter of the back-pay. Numerous requests remain unanswered by CoGTA on the determination of remuneration with certain Izinduna apparently not receiving remuneration for months as well as certain Izinduna not residing in the district but receiving remuneration.
The DA gave the meeting its assurance that the matter would be pursued at a provincial level to find and resolve these questions.
Since the introduction of remuneration, the DA has been clear in its call to the Premier, that the province has inherited an unfunded mandate. At the time President Jacob Zuma promulgated legislation for the remuneration of Izinduna. Our call was and still remains that this mandate needs to fulfilled by the National Treasury and not the province of KZN. A political solution needs to be found. This has not been achieved by the ANC and now the province finds itself unable to implement the mandate.
The time for sweeping this matter under the carpet needs to come to an end. The Premier must act and he must act now.