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TINDVUNA TETINKHUNDLA, MPS POWER STRUGGLE

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EZULWINI – Issues of power struggles between tindvuna tetinkhundla and Members of Parliaments (MPs) almost created division between parliamentarians yesterday.

This was during the ongoing induction conference for the 12th Parliament. The issues of power struggles were deeply and emotionally discussed during a presentation made by the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development which outlined the role of tindvuna tetinkhundla, bucopho, inkhundla clerk and MPs. The role that created the stir in the conference was that of MPs being development officers of their constituencies as well as that of indvuna yenkhundla being the chairman of inkhundla council, which is made of bucopho from all the communities under the constituency.

Development

“Another issue that MPs struggle to understand is that indvuna yenkhundla has the right to visit chiefs when they discuss development issues but he should not be involved in any disputes and politics. The last member of inkhundla is inkhundla clerk, who keeps the records of the activities of inkhundla. Inkhundla centre keys, assets, records non-governmental projects run by inkhundla are kept by the inkhundla clerk and reports to the regional secretary,” said the Director of Decentralisation Dumisani Sithole. He said MPs were also tasked with ensuring that some of the development projects in their inkhundla were rightfully documented and the Ministry of Tinkhundla had such records. He said in the past, some MPs accused the ministry of leaving them out only to discover that they did not honour their duties as development officers.

As he was presenting these points, some of the MPs were noticeably eager to say something, as they were seen raising their hands. However, Clerk to Parliament, Benedict Xaba, together with the Senate President Lindiwe Dlamini urged the parliamentarians to hold still until the end of the presentation. Immediately after Sithole had completed the presentation, Senator Chief Mvimbi Matse wasted no time and started pounding on MPs and accused them of hijacking the duties of tindvuna tetinkhundla. “Why do you say indvuna yenkhundla is the chairman of council meetings because they are nowhere to be found? The MPs have taken over those council meetings. Testament to that is what we saw in the 11th Parliament where MPs took over the work of tindvuna tetinkhundla. MPs have hijacked those meetings,” he said.

As the senator was making the submission, some of the parliamentarians were in stitches while most of them were showing signs of disagreement as they raised their hands. Lobamba MP Michael Masilela said, “If you have never been a candidate in the general elections you can speak anyhow. Under normal circumstances, kusahwa kwetitulo is everywhere, even in the highest hierarchy, how much more at tinkhundla level. It had never been raised before that MPs were developing officers. It is my first time to hear that an MP is also a development officer. Before, whenever we tried to probe development issues in our constituency, we were told that we should speak in Parliament,” he said.

Friction

Masilela also highlighted that he acquired his seat under difficult circumstances because of the friction between him and indvuna yenkhundla. He therefore urged any of the parliamentarians who didn’t obtain their seats through votes to remain silent on the issue of hijacking of duties. Meanwhile, Maphalaleni MP, who is also the Minister of Public Service Mabulala Maseko, stated that in some instances, MPs found themselves forced to perform duties of bucopho and tindvuna tetinkhundla as these were nowhere to be found. He added that the issue of the delegation of duties between MPs and tindvuna tetinkhundla needed a joint session where the ministry would then clearly define each role of the elected officers to avoid accusation of kusahwa kwetitulo and carrying an overload of duties.

Lugolweni MP Joseph Souza raised a concern when in his presentation, Sithole stated that MPs were ambassadors of development. He wondered how other officials made public utterances that MPs should not be part of the development when the ministry said they should. He asked when the ministry of tinkhundla capacitated the other MPs on the role of MPs at inkhundla level. Ndzingeni MP Gcina Magugala asked why chiefs were not remunerated since the structures showed that they should be present in all council meetings. “I saw the constituency structure shows that chiefs are part of the activities but I do not see remuneration of chiefs,” he said. Senator Chief Gcokoma, still on the issues of MPs taking over indvuna yenkhundla duties clearly stated that MPs were not supposed to call council meetings. “Induna yenkhundla has the authority to call a council meeting at inkhundla not MPs. Before, after elections tindvuna tetinkhundla were also blessed by the King in order to get the authority to invite chiefs in council meetings,” he said. He went on to state that in his  understanding, chiefs were represented by bucopho in these meetings.

Overtime

“Before, bucopho used to be appointed by chiefs but that all changed overtime,” he said. He also highlighted a tale of local government elections and the general elections. “The Constitution states that over time, local government elections and the elections of bucopho would be merged. But years have passed and nothing has happened in that regard. Who is not doing his job in this regard? It is also stated that there would be a formation of regional councils, which have also not come into fruition,” he said.

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