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TRIBUNALS FOR CLIENTS TO REPORT TINYANGA

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MBABANE - Members of the public, who are not happy with services rendered to them by tinyanga, will now be able to lodge complaints.

This follows the establishment of tribunals, set up to mediate if ever there are concerns from clients on services rendered by traditional healers in the country. The tribunals seek to ensure fairness and transparency between traditional healers and their clients. The tribunals shall also ensure that traditional healers are paid for services rendered. Worth noting is that some people flock traditional healers for fortune telling (kuphengula) in order to establish the cause of their challenges and illnesses.  From the fortune telling, the traditional healers would provide a solution that might require certain steps towards healing.

Healing

It is during the healing process that people spend their money. Most people approach traditional healers for promotions, securing jobs, bringing back lost lovers, winning the lotto, gambling and winning court cases, among other things. The latest development was confirmed by Chairperson of the Witchdoctors Association, Makhanya Makhanya, following an incident where a traditional healer approached the Small Claims Court seeking an order to compel his client to pay  him E13 000 for a ritual known as kubetsela. Makhanya said in as much as the Small Claims Court was the right forum, traditional healers also had structures to address concerns from clients and traditional healers.

Regions

He said the tribunals were regional, meaning they were established in all the four regions of the country. “If a client has an issue with a traditional healer concerning services rendered, they are free to report to a nearby tribunal for redress. “The tribunal convenes meetings as and when the concerns are reported to them. They listen to the submissions from both parties and issue a verdict,” he said. Makhanya said clients had a right to report traditional healers if they charged them and failed to render services. He said the tribunals have a right to order compensation of the client if they failed to render the services.

Makhanya said the same principle applied to clients who failed to pay traditional healers for service rendered. He said if any of the parties were not satisfied with the ruling from the tribunal, they were free to appeal to the tribunal from any regional for a second opinion. He said if not satisfied with the verdict after appeal, the client or traditional healer could appeal to the executive of the national chairperson.He explained that the executive of the national chairperson was the last before the judicial commissioner.  Makhanya said the judicial commissioner, with advice from the executive, could charge the client of the traditional healer for dishonesty and defiance if they fail to comply with the verdict. “Traditional healers are governed by laws, which means there should always be transparency and fairness,” he said.

Definition

Asked about the true definition of traditional healers, Makhanya said traditional healers or witchdoctors were licensed healers, as they were entrusted with the lives of the people.
He said traditional healers were registered with Eswatini Courts, where they paid annual tax. Makhanya said the tribunals would always consider any deal between an unregistered traditional healer and client fraud.  He said anything that involved unregistered traditional healers and clients, would be deemed criminal and reported to the relevant department at the Royal Eswatini Police Service. He said unregistered healers should not attempt to heal, because they might endanger human life. Hhansense Mahhotela Dlamini, Judicial Commissioner for Eswatini Courts, registered his confidence in the traditional healers associations.

He said they were more relevant because they knew the issues from the grassroots level. Dlamini said his office was only involved after all the structures had been exhausted.
He said traditional healers should not be ashamed of their calling. He said the procedure provided that all traditional healers should be known to their chiefs and tindvuna. “They must possess a permit from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade before the inyanga could be given permission to move with herbs from one chiefdom to another,” he said.

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