The Mpumalanga Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has been accused of dragging its feet on addressing the leadership dispute in the Hoxani Traditional Council, which is based just a few kilometers away from Mkhuhlu in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga.
At the center of the dispute, are the Mkhukhumba Royal Family and the Matikwana Royal House, who are the descendants of the Nkuna clan that ruled the Hoxani area for a very long time.
The dispute ensued soon after Chief Madala Nkuna, who hails from the Matikwana Royal House, died last year in January.
The Mkhukhumba family, which claims that they are the rightful owners of the throne, alleges that Cogta MEC Mandla Msibi and the Head of the Department Samkelo Ngubane started to slow down the pace of the investigation after realizing that evidence was going against their preferred faction.
“In trying to address the leadership dispute, the department was approached last year early, and meetings were held concerning the matter. We were called to present the evidence, which we did, but when we needed the outcome of that investigation, we were not given straight answers. Premier Refiloe Mtshweni also failed to resolve this problem,” said Mthokozisi Nkuna, a representative of the Mkhukhumba family.
Mthokozisi said all the family needs is a report from the investigation.
“We have been trying to interact with the MEC and the head of department (HOD), but they don’t give us answers or update us about the progress that has been made in terms of settling this dispute. All we need is to be updated about the progress made or given the outcome of the investigation that was conducted,” he said.
Nkuna said part of the evidence that they submitted included that the Matikwana family representative was installed as a regent in the early 70s, but instead of handing over the throne to the rightful leader who was not from his family, he decided to keep the rein within his family until today.
Sunday World has seen the letters exchanged between the affected family and the department concerning the matter.
During his policy and budget speech in June this year, Msibi said the Hoxani Tribal Authority leadership dispute “would be addressed within three months.”
HOD Samkelo Ngubane has confirmed that the Mkhukhumba family approached the department to intervene in the dispute.
He said the last meeting on the matter was held in July of this year.
“The meeting heard a variety of claims by a variety of groups on record, some disputing the claims by either house, including the Mkhukhumba and Matikwana; some also gave evidence that they took the matter to court without success.
“It became apparent to MEC Msibi that all emerging houses pushed for a claim to the throne and that there was no unanimous voice as to the status, which is one of the apparent reasons why the status quo is being challenged only after the senior traditional leader has passed on,” said Ngubane.
Ngubane said Msibi was in the process of compiling a report in this regard in consultation with the Provincial House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders.
He said the report will be submitted to Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane for a decision by end of October.