Premier backs down, reinstates Amafa council

2009-03-13 00:00

Amafa employees must be wondering if last week really happened. In a dramatic turnaround yesterday Premier S’bu Ndebele reversed all the decisions he made previously concerning the provincial heritage body

Last week, Ndebele fired Arthur Konigkramer, chairman of Amafa-aKwaZulu-Natali, along with its entire council. Then Amafa CEO Barry Marshall was suspended and a forensic investigation launched into the affairs of Amafa.

Yesterday, all these measures were reversed and Ndebele announced that the current Amafa council will remain in office until the new council is constituted.

According to a statement, Ndebele met Konigkramer yesterday morning. “Our discussions were amicable and constructive and all our differences, based on misunderstanding, were resolved,” he said, adding that Konigkramer and director-general Kwazi Mbanjwa will be joining him to visit the eMakhosini Valley this Sunday to view the R23-million multimedia centre currently nearing completion.

What exactly the misunderstanding was about remains unclear.

According to some sources, it revolved around Amafa’s refusal to financially bail out the premier’s heritage department, which had overspent by R7 million.

Other sources said the misunderstanding arose over Ndebele’s handling of the alleged vandalisation of the monument to Maqhamusela Khanyile, the first Zulu Christian martyr, who was killed in 1877 just outside Eshowe.

According to the premier’s spokesman Logan Maistry, this matter is still under investigation. In a statement last week, the premier said that “a high-ranking official from northern KwaZulu-Natal” was directly implicated in the vandalising of the site.

A Zulu-language newspaper identified the official as Stan Larkan, mayor of the Uthungulu District Municipality.

Lawyers acting on Larkan’s behalf instituted legal proceeedings against the premier demanding a retraction and an apology. “If the premier doesn’t apologise we are pressing ahead,” Larkan said yesterday.

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