MEC intervenes in Mandeni faction fights

2010-03-12 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government is planning “decisive intervention” to ensure that pupils return to school in the Mandeni area, on the province’s north coast, where faction fighting has created a volatile situation.

Safety and Community Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu issued this warning during a meeting with the warring factions yesterday at the Mandeni Municipality offices.

The police confirmed that seven people have been killed — three of them last Sunday.

Fighting in the area has broken out between people in the eMaNkwanyaneni valley, under Inkosi Prince Nkosinathi Zulu, and the neighbouring eMaNkenganeni village, under Inkosi Sifiso Reginald Biyela.

Schooling has been disrupted by the conflict. Teenage boys are frequently absent from class, fearing that they might be attacked at school.

Local resident Sbusiso Mwandla told The Witness yesterday that some boys at the local Gala High School and Hayinyama Primary School had failed to write their examinations last year, as the fighting intensified during the final examinations period.

“If the fighting is not resolved this weekend, I am going to meet with my Department of Education counterpart, and there will be a decisive intervention to ensure that learners go back to classes,” said Mchunu.

A meeting between the warring factions is scheduled to take place at Mombeni Tribal Court tomorrow.

The conflict has also stalled infrastructure projects.

“The construction of a pedestrian bridge across Uthukela River was stopped … Other stalled development projects include the extension of classes at Manqindi Primary School, the construction of a crèche, the construction of a health station and the installation of electricity and water pipes.

“We are afraid this fighting is also going to delay the construction of subsidised houses, which was supposed to be launched soon,” said Mwandla.

Mwandla said the fighting started as a feud between the Mthethwa and the Ncanana families.

“A member of the Ncanana family was killed in KwaMashu Hostel, Durban, in October last year. The murder was blamed on the Mthethwa family from the area.

During the funeral, the Mthethwas attacked first, in anticipation of an attack on them after the burial.

“As the fighting intensified, the Mthethwas sought refuge with their relatives in the eMaNkwanyaneni area, under Inkosi Zulu,” said Mwandla.

Despite leaving to stay in another inkosi’s area, the fighting continued, and the Mthethwas claimed they were being attacked at their place of refuge.

Although the two amakhosi say there is no bad blood between them, both have lost tribe members. Officers from the Public Order Police Unit are monitoring the situation.

“I will convene an urgent meeting with the provincial police commissioner, with a view to beefing up deployment,” said Mchunu.

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