Giyani residents have turned against their chief after he sent a letter demanding R1-million from musician and ANC councillor Penny Penny.
Community leaders at Nkuri, west of Giyani, yesterday called on the Nkuri royal family to sack the chief.
Chief Nkuri, born Sevha Michael Maluleke, is said to be claiming that Penny Penny had defamed him.
The musician, born Eric Nkovani, confirmed yesterday that the chief demanded R1-million payment from him.
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The community, which comprises three villages – Zamani, Xirilele and Ntomu – have formed a group called Zoxinto to handle the matter.
Over the past three weeks, residents have held meetings in which they elected community leaders from each of the three villages.
The group’s task is to deliver a memorandum to the royal family, asking them to relieve Chief Nkuri of his duties and replace him with another royal.
Nkuri is also accused of blocking development projects, which is the source of the conflict with Penny Penny.
Xigono Mathonsi, a community leader, said the chief was not cooperating with Penny Penny in his efforts as councillor to uplift the community.
“We’ve seen what Penny Penny has done for us and we don’t know why the chief is demanding R1-million from him, just for saying the chief is not cooperative,” said Mathonsi.
He added the chief was against people forming a civic association and a community policing forum.
“The royal family must do justice and remove him.”
Penny Penny said he was surprised to receive a letter of demand from the chief.
“Since I became a councillor I’ve been fighting against the odds to develop the community while getting no support from the chief,” he said.
“I have no money to pay him.”
Speaking on behalf of the chief, Royal family chairman Hosana Xikukwana, whose real name is Masenyani Maluleke, said they were aware of the problems between the chief and Penny Penny and the community.
“We have met and also told the chief that he erred in sending a letter of demand to Penny Penny and also that he must use a headman and not deal directly with communities,” he said.
Xikukwana added there would be a meeting of Vanwanati leaders, to which the Nkuri chieftainship belongs, to discuss Chief Nkuri’s standoff with Penny Penny and the community.