Former parliamentarian vows to fight for equal rights for other kings
ANC’s outgoing MP Setlamorago Godfrey Thobejane has accused the government of discriminating against six kings in the country by giving them lesser treatment to that afforded their counterpart King Goodwill Zwelithini, who is the only one allocated an annual budget.
Thobejane, who recently resigned from parliament due to his unhappiness with the way government handles certain issues, said he would now use his position as the president of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) to fight for the equal treatment of all seven kings.
The traditional leader of Limpopo province said he was supportive of the Zulu King getting the budget.
“We want the rest of the kings to get that kind of budget, and once all of them receive it we would then start fighting to increase the budget of our kings in South Africa,” he said.
Thobejane, who was reported to be criss-crossing the country, lobbying other traditional leaders to start their own political party, told Independent Media that he had not resigned from the ANC.
“We are unable to speak about increment while we are struggling to say we want all of them to get the budget.”
He said senior traditional leaders, amakhosi, should also be allocated the budget to help their traditional councils to function. According to 2014’s remuneration rates for traditional leaders each of the seven kings gets R1.03 million a year, R188 424 for amakhosi and R79 364 for izinduna.
“Our call is very clear, we are saying even the senior traditional leaders’ council should be allocated the budget. We want the rest to get the allocation.”
When asked if the government would sustain the budgets for all seven kings, Thobejane said: “Our president started it and he must finish it.
“You can’t do left, and when you are supposed to do right you start telling us that it might not be sustainable. Once you start something you must finish it, you don’t start and stop in between.”
Thobejane rejected arguments that the national government should not be blamed for prioritising the Zulu King, because his budget was coming from the KwaZulu-Natal government.
“We got one revenue collection in South Africa, there is not KwaZulu-Natal revenue collection. There is one, which is within the national treasury,” he said.