King praises community peace pact

2013-12-23 00:00

KING Goodwill Zwelithini at the weekend congratulated the community of eMatheni village in KwaNongoma for sealing a peace pact that brought an end to the long conflict that claimed more than 21 lives in the area this year.

Addressing an event attended by thousands of people from the warring villages of eSigubudu, eMatshamhlophe and eMatheni, Zwelithini said he was still hurt by the killings.

The conflict started when differences emerged between two locals — Sbhevu Sibiya and Dlokwakhe Buthelezi — who were once friends in the taxi industry.

The conflict was over the control of the routes, leading to the death of Buthelezi, which triggered killings and counter-killings between the supporters of the two individuals.

The whole area eventually got engulfed in the conflict, disrupting normal life for villagers.

Sibiya has since been arrested, and is facing murder and attempted murder charges. The situation has since been stabilised in the area.

Through the Department of Community Safety and Liaison’s initiatives, under the Communities in Dialogue programme, peace structures were set up in the villages.

The king said that for the peace deal to last, the people of eMatheni had to change. “Today we must bury all bad tendencies that have seen people being mowed down with spears and bullets. We need to strengthen family values, return to the culture of good neighbourliness and become the protectors of our neighbours,” said the king.

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu described the peace agreement as historic, saying he had never in the past witnessed a situation where a community took its own initiative to find peace without it being imposed from above.

Mchunu said working towards peace for the people of KZN was an initiative started by the king. “It is good for the people of eMatheni that they did not wait for someone from outside to start the peace initiative for them. As government, we merely assisted the community to solidify this peace initiative.”

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