DRUNKENNESS, laziness and soliciting bribes are just some of the "demons" destroying traditional leadership in the country.
Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) chairman Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said the dignity of traditional leaders was being destroyed because they "worshipped the bottle and have forsaken their God-given responsibilities of looking after their subjects".
Matanzima was speaking at the enrobbing and installation of Nkosi Ntombizodwa "Zwelinzima" Msutu – the first women chief to head the Msutu Traditional Council of AmaZizi tribe – at her Qhetho Great Place in Peddie on Saturday.
"Alcohol abuse among traditional leaders is the rot and demon that is steadily destroying traditional leadership and this is making us be seen as nothing but a bunch of drunkards, instead of leaders of note and role models," said Matanzima. "This is a sad scenario and needs to be denounced."
Matanzima said some traditional leaders brought shame to their subjects because instead of embarking on initiatives to develop their communities, they were becoming drunkards.
He said other traditional leaders had entered into deals unwittingly while intoxicated and had sold their lands and compromised the entire community.
He also lashed out at traditional leaders who abused their authority by soliciting bribes from subjects in exchange for certain services.
"A traditional leader is supposed to be above board and not get involved in corrupt and fraudulent activities. We don't want traditional leaders who are grooming criminals and making the communities a haven for criminals," he said.
However, Matanzima also blamed communities for corrupting traditional leaders for their own personal benefit. "Some of you are equally to be blamed for the corruption and downfall of some of us traditional leaders. We want traditional leaders who live a clean life and a community which is against the ills of life. We must stand up and protect instead of tempting our traditional leaders," said Matanzima.
Prince Siqithi Maqoma, speaking on behalf of AmaRharhabe Queen Noloyiso Sandile, Contralesa provincial secretary Nkosi Xolile Ndevu and Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane were all in agreement with Matanzima.
"We pray that you, Princess Nkosi Msutu, will be the one who will lead by example, a leader in whom your people will take pride, and who will follow you with zeal and enthusiasm," Maqoma said.
Msutu is the only one of the 40 chiefs who is a permanent woman chief in the kingdom. Maqoma said the AmaRharhabe kingdom was proud to witness this transformation in traditional leadership. "This shows that the kingdom is sensitive towards constitutional demands, equity and equality irrespective of sex or gender within a democratic dispensation," Maqoma said.
Ndevu warned Msutu that women would look at her as a representative of them, but the entire community – irrespective of gender – would see her as a chief.
"You must satisfy all of them without being biased towards anyone. Treat them equally," he said.
Qoboshiyane applauded the royal family and the tribe for dealing with the succession process without any hiccups.
"I wish other communities and royal families could learn from this," he said.
"There are may claims and disputes that we are dealing with – others are in court, but this royal family decided to choose a woman in line with the constitution and never had problems."