Traditional leaders ‘assaulted’

2014-09-27 00:00

A RESPECTED member of the Msunduzi council stands accused of assaulting traditional leaders in an incident witnessed by the deputy speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Meshack Radebe, this week.

Councillor Dolo Zondi, leader of the IFP caucus, appeared in court with his co-accused — Zakhele Zondi, Zikhali Zondi, Thulebona Zondi, Sinothile Zondi and Thokozani Zondi — on charges of assault and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm to traditional leaders Sipho Qoma and Thinasonke Ntombela on Heritage Day, September 24. They were released on R300 bail each.

At the centre of the dispute, which has pitted the councillor against his brother, iNkosi Nsikayezwe Zondi of Mpumuza, is the appointment of traditional leaders and the distribution of land in the area.

On Wednesday, Qoma and Ntombela were inspecting a plot of land with Radebe and Nsikayezwe Zondi’s lawyer Sibani Nzimande when the assault happened.

Ntombela told Weekend Witness he was in the area to inspect the land for a community development project.

“Inkosi Nsikayezwe Zondi wants the area to be developed and Radebe was there to advise us on what can be built on that plot. The plan is to build a medical centre, shopping centre or a cultural village,” he said.

It’s alleged that a group of men led by the Zondi brothers suddenly descended on them at about 2.30 pm and assaulted Ntombela and Qoma in front of the deputy speaker.

“They did not ask any questions. They just said ‘here’s the person that must be beaten’. They then started assaulting me with sticks and I tried to fight back because they wanted to kill me.”

Ntombela was taken to St Anne’s hospital, where he received stitches on his head and under an eye. He was also treated for injuries to his arm.

A member of the Mpumuza tribal council, Thubelihle Zondi, said they were shocked by the attack and did not know what had provoked it.

He said Qoma and Ntombela were marking out a plot for Radebe’s daughter when they were attacked.

Radebe could not be reached to comment on the matter yesterday.

Dolo Zondi said he had tried to break up the fight and was not guilty of assault. “They were assaulting Ntombela and he was fighting back, trying to protect himself from a group of community members. I was called about a problem in the area and was trying to break up the fight. I don’t know why I am now accused of assaulting Ntombela,” he said.

Nzimande said the Zondi family members had contravened an interdict preventing them from intimidating, harassing and assaulting members of the traditional authority.

They will be back in court on November 3.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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