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By Timothy Simelane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Sep-2009

A widow has taken the traditional authorities of Nkhanini Royal Kraal to court for allegedly ruling that coloureds are not allowed in the area.

Joyce Bongiwe Mkhatshwa (nee Dlamini) gave birth to a coloured daughter after she fell in love with an Italian national, James Plet, in the 1970s. The daughter, Zandile Cyrene Plet, also produced coloured children. The widow later married Julius Mkhatshwa, a resident of Nkhanini, who is now late.

As the coloured community spread within the Mkhatshwa family, the family elders complained that they were too noisy and disturbing peace within the family. Bongiwe’s brother-in-law, Skosh Mkhatshwa, subsequently reported her to the Nkhanini Royal Kraal, where the matter was heard by Skhishi Dlamini, the traditional governor. Dlamini is the first respondent in the matter because he is the one who issued an order evicting the coloured family from the area.

In her papers, Bongiwe argues that she was not afforded an opportunity to defend herself when the matter was adjudicated by the Royal Kraal. She further says after the order was issued expelling her from the area, she refused to move because she had nowhere else to go.

“On December 10, 2008 I was fined E200 for not heeding the eviction order by the Swaziland National Council of Lobamba. guilty “When I tried to appeal to Indvuna Lusendvo Fakudze, he said there was nothing he could do because I had already been found guilty.”

The widow says she had since been the subject of abuse by the governor who is intent on removing her family from the area. The Attorney General’s office, representing the governor, is to argue that the High Court has no jurisdiction over the matter because it is under Swazi Law and Custom. In an affidavit, Mkhatshwa and the governor deny having segregated the family because they are coloureds. They allege that Zandile’s children are noisy and disturb peace. They also say they had only evicted the coloured children not the widow.

The attorney General’s office, however, said the governor could find another land to settle the widow’s children and remove them from the Mkhatshwa family. Justice Qinisile Mabuza suspended the eviction order to give the AG’s office time to consult the traditional authorities of Nkhanini about the possibility of settling the children elsewhere.

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