OBITUARY: Inkosi Ngcobo of EmaQadini

2008-01-11 00:00

Traditional Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu yesterday expressed shock at the death of inkosi Mzunjani Ngcobo (pictured) of EmaQadini Traditional Council.

Ngcobo (80) died on Wednesday night at about 11 pm at Entabeni Hospital following a long illness. His death comes less than two months after that of his wife Sebenzile (73), on November 25.

Mabuyakhulu’s spokesman Lennox Mabaso said the MEC has expressed his deepest condolences to the Ngcobo family and was deeply saddened by the news.

He said Ngcobo was one of the veteran traditional leaders in the province.

AmaQadi chief induna Bhekuyise Ngcobo said they were very saddened by the news of Ngcobo’s death.

“He was a tireless worker of his subjects and was instrumental in steering development of this traditional council,” he said.

Ngcobo, an IFP hardliner, was a former minister of works in the now defunct KwaZulu government. Due to ill health that impacted heavily on his work, he relinquished the chieftainship as inkosi of AmaQadi in 2004, and his son Mqoqi took over from him.

He reigned from September 30, 1956, although his induna Bhekuyise disputes this, saying he was installed sometime in 1952. He is survived by eight children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The latter part of Ngcobo’s reign was marred by controversy when, in 1994, he was implicated in the disappearance of R5,6 million earmarked to compensate members of the Qadi community, who were forcibly removed during the construction of Inanda Dam in 1986.

For over 21 years without land, they waited for 13 years for their promised compensation. Although the money was paid to Ngcobo in 1994 by the then IFP-led provincial government, the money was not given to the 315 displaced families. Instead it went into a development fund and they have been trying ever since to get their share. This has yet to be resolved.

In 2003 Ngcobo also found himself at loggerheads with the ANC government after he refused to allow eThekwini Municipal councillor Lawrence Thobela to construct an approved R1,1 million community multi-purpose centre at Thumbela under his jurisdiction.

Ngcobo was also fingered as the mastermind in the divisions that have marred the Shembe Church after he, in 1989, influenced Vimbeni Shembe to break away with his faction, which was later known as Ebuhleni. This created two factions — Ebuhleni and Ekuphakameni.

nathi@witness.co.za

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