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DA wants national govt to assist KZN in paying traditional leaders

Mbali Ntuli said the ANC let former President Jacob Zuma throw the provincial government under the bus when it allowed him to sign a remuneration proclamation in 2013 for headmen.

FILE: Dignitaries and guests attending the debate in the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament. Picture: GCIS

DURBAN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal said national government must assist the province in paying traditional leaders.

DA spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mbali Ntuli, said the province could not afford to pay headmen the R1.2 billion it reportedly owed them, as well as sustain the annual R500 million that it pays to chiefs and headmen.

Ntuli said the African National Congress let former President Jacob Zuma throw the provincial government under the bus when it allowed him to sign a remuneration proclamation in 2013 for headmen.

She said this was a populist move which set unsustainable expenditure expectations for traditional leaders.

“As the DA, we have asked for a register of these headmen, and policy around how this money is going to be spent and the accountability that’s going to be had. The MEC seems reluctant to give this to us,” Ntuli said.

Ntuli also accused the provincial government of using taxpayers' money to pay traditional leaders under a poor legislative framework.

But KZN Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka denied this, insisting that the province would be able to pay the province’s headmen.

Hlomuka authorised R80 million for the annual increase in salaries for headmen for the 2019/2020 financial year.