New hall for Phalo village
Brand new traditional council hall will benefit the traditional leaders of AmaBhele and their community
A new traditional council hall to benefit the traditional leaders of AmaBhele and their community, situated next to the gravesite of King Phalo, was officially opened in Butterworth on Thursday.
The R3.2m hall at Thongwana administrative area, Phalo village, named after the last ruler of a united Xhosa nation, is the twelfth to be built by the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department (Cogta) in the Eastern Cape.
The department has been criticised by Contralesa for the slow pace at which it is building and renovating traditional council halls, many of which are decaying or nonexistent.
Cogta MEC Fikile Xasa said his department was building two traditional council halls a year and there were 241 traditional councils in the province.
“We are roping in municipalities and the human settlements department to include their community hall and multi-purpose building programme to alleviate the plight and have halls built in such a way that they can also be used as traditional council facilities.
“In doing so we will be speeding up the process of building these facilities for traditional councils in the Eastern Cape,” said Xasa.
The facilities will include an office for the senior traditional leader, Nkosikazi Nobandla Xolisa Vuso, and there is another office for the ward councillor.
“It will have a kitchen, storeroom, flushing toilets and a hall.
“The AmaBhele Traditional Council's headquarters are in part to help improve the developmental capacity of traditional leadership institutions. To this end, we will focus on the establishment of traditional councils under the new dispensation and promote partnerships between the traditional councils and the municipalities around them.
“Traditional councils have been given
astrong voice in development matters and may now enter into partnerships and service delivery agreements with government.”
Cogta has since 2009 constructed 18 traditional council offices and renovated 12.
“We want the construction to be increased from two per year.
“But we will do that through a memorandum of understanding between the municipalities and Cogta, as well as a human settlements department … this will speed up the process,” said Xasa.
Xasa said all traditional councils would have to register when attending council meetings.
“I’ve picked up that some sub-headmen and headmen don’t attend traditional council meetings.
“Anybody who does not attend traditional council meetings will be dealt with,” said Xasa, adding that attendance at meetings was important because this was how information on what communities needed was transferred.
AmaMfengu historian Mzwandile Matutu said AmaBhele communities made up some of the AmaMfengu traditional community who arrived in Xhosaland in 1828 and were welcomed by AmaXhosa King Hintsa in Tshatshongo.
In 1865 they were resettled in the Fingoland region by colonialists and became autonomous from AmaXhosa sovereignty.
Fingoland comprises three districts: Butterworth, Tsomo and Ngqamakhwe.
This region has a total of nine traditional councils – three for each of AmaBhele, AmaHlubi and AmaZizi...