No end to KwaMbonambi disputes
A COMMUNITY is up in arms over unpaid land damage claims, an ongoing chieftainship succession battle, and allegations of deeprooted corruption.
These are just some of the issues which prompted dissatisfied members of KwaMbonambi to gather at the Nzalabantu
Stadium on Sunday morning, where a memorandum was drafted to be handed over to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
The memorandum focused on the removal of the administrator of the Mbuyazi clan’s Traditional Council, Martin Mbuyazi, who was appointed by Premier Willies Mchunu in 2017 to oversee a R74.5-million land damage claim payout between Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) and the community.
The money was to be shared between two trusts - R35.3-million allocated to a development trust and R39.2-million to a public benefit trust.
For the past decade RBM, owned by Rio Tinto, has been ready to make the payout in respect of nine phases, all pertaining to mining on ancestral land belonging to the Mbuyazi clan.
However factions of the clan are embroiled in a legal dispute over leadership succession, which subsequently delayed the release of the funds.
In the memorandum, which has since been handed over to Cogta, chairperson of the KwaMbonambi Land Damage Committee, Wax Ndlela, cited the main reason for the removal of Martin Mbuyazi relates to allegations of corruption.
The memorandum also highlighted that other members of the tribal council had abused public power by taking advantage of their official position to arrange their personal affairs, doing so for personal gain.
This after it is alleged that the tribal council, tasked by RBM to verify the number of indigenous people of KwaMbonambi that were meant to be paid out, removed 900 people off a list which initially consisted of 1 372 persons.
The initial number of beneficiaries was determined by GIBB, one of South Africa’s leading multidisciplinary engineering consulting companies, who were hired by the Department of Traditional Affairs and paid by RBM.
Allegations go as far as stating that the tribal council removed these 900 people in order to arrange that their friends and relatives benefit, many of whom have since received payouts and are not indigenous people of KwaMbonambi.
‘The original people of KwaMbonambi have been paid far less than these ‘skeleton people’, and that is not fair,’ Ndelela told the ZO.
Such issues have prompted threats from the Kwambo community that there will be no voting in the upcoming elections if their concerns are not heard and resolved.
Community members arrived in droves at the Nzalabantu Stadium on Sunday to voice their concerns over a variety of issues