Forgo traditions, guard your safety – urges Zulu king

Forgo traditions, guard your safety – urges Zulu king

Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuZulu, is urging amaZulu to avoid funerals of people who are not their relatives as the country continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 infections.

The king has sent condolences to families who have lost their loved ones to the pandemic.

Urging his subjects to take the disease seriously, king Zwelithini urged the public to attend funerals that they cannot avoid.

He says they shouldn’t worry too much about some of the cutural rituals they are accustomed to as those can still be fulfilled once the battle against COVID-19 has been won.

“It would be a tragedy for people to place traditions before their own safety,” the king said.

Quoting a Scripture on 2 Chronicles, the king also urged South Africa to seek God’s forgiveness so that he can bring healing on the land.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa also urged South Africans to avoid funerals, saying attending them has become a death trap.

The President says the events have become super-spreaders of the disease, which has killed 35 852 South Africans.

In KwaZulu-Natal alone, 5 964 people have succumbed to the virus and 269 632 others are infected.

Mpembeni family upset after burying wrong body

Mpembeni family upset after burying wrong body

The Kunene family in Mpembeni, Kwahlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal, says government’s COVID-19 restrictions are violating cultural norms.

The family is upset after it buried a wrong body.

They learnt about the faux pas when their funeral parlour, Icebolethu, informed them a few days after they laid gogo Gumede, whom they thought was gogo Kunene, to rest.

Family spokesperson Mbongeleni Kunene is blaming the funeral parlour for this.

He says the undertaker only opened the coffin slightly and showed gogo Gumede’s face who had the same complexion as gogo Kunene. She was also wearing a hat similar to the one gogo Kunene had.

Kunene is worried that people will end up burying animals due to the COVID-19 regulations.

A spokesperson for the Gumede family says they realised that they were given a wrong body when they went to fetch their relative’s remains for burial.

They then alerted the undertaker to the mistake, who upon investigating established that gogo Gumede had actually been given to the Kunene family.

The funeral parlour at the centre of the controversy has meanwhile denied allegations that it did not allow the Kunene family a chance to view the body of their loved one.

Icobelethu spokesperson Nkosenhle Hlophe says refusing the family a fair chance to view their loved one’s remains would have been in violation of the law.

According to Hlophe, the law demands that families confirm the identity of their deceased relative.

However, he adds, they do this while they adhere to government’s COVID-19 regulations, which allow them to open the body bag for family viewing by one relative at a time – in the presence of a mortuary attendant who is wearing personal protective equipment.

However, the washing and preparing of the mortal remains by family members is not encouraged due to health risks.

Below pictures, show the exhumation of gogo Gumede’s body that had been buried.

Stop burning 5G towers, urge KZN political parties

Stop burning 5G towers, urge KZN political parties

Political parties in KwaZulu-Natal have come out guns blazing, shooting down rumours of 5G towers being linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This follows the burning of the cellular networks in the province amid social media claims that it helps spread the deadly virus that has the turned the world upside down, claiming thousands of lives.

IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa says people should stop demolishing the towers as they have nothing to do with the virus.

Hlabisa says the demolition of the towers will only affect the same communities that are being duped into believing that the networks are a problem.

He is urging locals to not reject a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available in the country to avoid the loss of life South Africa witnessed at the beginning of the Aids pandemic in the country where people didn’t take antiretroviral drugs due to lies that were peddled about them being deadly.

DA KwaZulu-Natal leader, Zwakele Mncwango, has also weighed in on the matter.

He says 5G has nothing to do with the spread of COVID-19.

Urging people to stop spreading unsubstantiated claims, Mncwango says the towers not only assist with communication but also help hospital respirators, which are used to improve the condition of those with breathing problems.

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has also slammed the attacks on the cellphone network towers.

Calling for the arrest of those responsible for the destruction of the towers, Ndabeni-Abrahams described the misinformation campaign as a threat to investments made into telecoms network infrastructure. – Philani Zulu is the News Editor of Maputaland Community Radio.

KwaMhlabuyalingana chief in hot water for helping woman escape angry locals

KwaMhlabuyalingana chief in hot water for helping woman escape angry locals

A woman from KwaMhlabuyalingana in ZamaZama in Biyela, KwaZulu-Natal, is still in hiding after fleeing from community members baying for her blood.

The ZamaZama residents hopped mad after learning that the woman, who won’t be named to protect her identity, had sent two boys to bathe at a grave that belongs to the Khumalo family.

Local chief Thula Mthombeni saved her from the community’s anger.

Mthombeni tipped the woman and asked her not to attend a planned community meeting.

He roped in police officials from Manguzi and Skhemelele who took the woman to a safe place. 

The chief has told Local Voices that he did this to avoid bloodshed as the community was raging with anger and they wanted to burn the woman’s home.

The Khumalo family also wants eight cows from the woman for her actions.

The community has now hauled chief Mthombeni to the traditional court, where he has been charged for aiding the woman to escape justice.

No sentencing has yet been made in the matter.

Mthombeni says the media spotlight on this issue has placed him at loggerheads with king Mabhudu Tembe.

Jozini authorities crackdown on lockdown rules violators

Jozini authorities crackdown on lockdown rules violators

Scores of people have been arrested in Jozini and Ndumo, in KwaZulu-Natal, for not wearing masks when traveling to the cities. 

According to the country’s COVID-19 regulations, a person found guilty of not wearing a mask faces six months in jail or up to R1 500 fine. 

In December, a Pietermaritzburg court also issued a law, which stipulates a R300 fine for failure to wear a mask in public, R1 500 for breaking the 9PM-6AM curfew and businesses that close later than 8PM or are overcrowded will pay R3 000.

The adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations are part of government’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than a million South Africans.

Jozini Mayor Delani Mabika says the police and the army will continue to crack down on towns under the jurisdiction of the municipality.

These include Jozini, Ngwavuma, Bhambanana, Ndumo and Mkhuze.

On Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal recorded 132 COVID-19 related fatalities.

The province has a total number of 236 177 coronavirus infections and 5 002 deaths.

Umgungundlovu, Ugu, Harry Gwala, King Cetshwayo and Ilembe are the hardest hit areas in the province. – Report by Mnqobi Ngwenya, a Maputaland 107.6 Fm Journalist.

Jozini man mourns loss of livestock

Jozini man mourns loss of livestock

Lunga Simelane from Jozini kwaPhaweni, KwaZulu-Natal, is mourning the loss of his livestock.

Simelane’s 25 goats were struck by lightning this week. 

He says 2020 has been a bad year for him as he lost most of his cattle in October.

They went missing and were never found.

Now the death of his goats has added to his woes.

He says he is devastated and doesn’t know what to do as he supplements his income by selling them.

The ward 19 resident says although his councillor had snubbed his plea for help, Disaster Management and Agriculture Departmental officials came to his rescue.

They brought a grader and helped bury the livestock.

Bad weather has been wreaking havoc in parts of KwaZulu-Natal recently.

A family in Nongoma’s Ward 21, at eMahhashini, recently lost two family members after they were struck by lightning.

Houses in the area and Ulundi were also damaged.

Robbers leave uPhongolo stokvel members high and dry

Robbers leave uPhongolo stokvel members high and dry

Members of a stokvel in uPhongolo, in the Qaqeni area of KwaZulu-Natal, are reeling from shock after they were robbed of the money they had saved for months for Christmas family festivities.

An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen when two unknown armed men stormed the house they were gathered in to distribute the funds.

One of the victims, Cebisile Nxumalo, says she is devastated and still can’t believe that their money is gone.

Ward 5 councilor, Twister Mavimbela, is urging the public to prioritise its safety at this time of the year.

She has called on stokvel group members to either distribute funds from the bank and transfer them into members’ bank accounts or ask law enforcement agencies for assistance.

While the incident is said to have been the first in uPhongolo, the stealing of stokvel money has become a trend in South Africa, especially this time of the year.  

According to incidents reported to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) between 2014 and 15 December 2017, 53 stokvel robbery incidents were reported, with 77% of incidents occurring during the festive season. 

The centre has also advised South Africans to find safer ways to transact, such as internet transfers or mobile banking, instead of carrying large amounts of cash. Report by Archurah Beula a Maputaland Community Radio Journalist

Jozini parents reunited with kidnapped son after 9 years

Jozini parents reunited with kidnapped son after 9 years

The parents of a young boy from Jozini, in KwaZulu-Natal, who was kidnapped when he was six days old are over the moon after the child’s safe return home.

They have thanked the Shembe prophet, known as the king of Nazareth uNyazilwezulu, to whom they went to consult for help. The couple says Nyazilwezulu promised them that the boy would return home safely one day. A prophecy that has come true.

Nhlakanipho is now nine years old.

He was abducted by a woman who had promised to help his mother register his birth.

She was visiting Jozini at the time of the crime and while on their way to the home affairs department – Khanyisile, the kidnapper, asked Nhlakanipho’s mother to go buy something to eat at the nearby shops before disappearing with the boy.

The father of the child, Thokozani Gumede, has told Maputaland Community Radio News that they had spent a lot of money trying to find Nhlakanipho.

Nhlakanipho’s mother, Fikelephi Mpotshane-Gumede, has thanked the Jozini police and everyone who has tried helping them find their son.

She has warned young women not to trust strangers with their children. Mpotshane-Gumede has also called on young people to draw closer to God and forget the pleasures of the world.

The former boyfriend of the alleged kidnapper, Joseph Ndala, lived with the boy in Daveyton, eMaphupheni, and says he loved the boy like his own child.

He says the child’s abductor also had him fooled, pretending to be a good person while she was in fact a wolf in a sheep skin.

“She poisoned me and the child and then handed herself over to the police. The police came to our home and took me and Nhlakanipho to hospital. The child spent three weeks there and I was discharged after being treated.”

Ndala says Khanyisile confessed to a social worker that she had stolen the child and that’s the only time he learnt the truth about his beloved Nhlakanipho. The kidnapper had previously told him that the child was born of rape.

Ndala is urging other men to learn more about their partners and where they come from before settling down with them.

The spokesperson for the police in Jozini, Captain Senzo Gumede, says they worked tirelessly since 2011 to solve the case.

He has urged members of the public to be patient with the police as they work on other unresolved cases. 


Lightning strikes two family members dead in Nongoma

Lightning strikes two family members dead in Nongoma

 Bad weather in KwaZulu-Natal has claimed two lives in Nongoma’s Ward 21, eMahhashini.

The Buthelezi family members were killed by a lightning strike on Friday afternoon. 

A relative of the two was injured and rushed to hospital.

The storms damaged a number of houses in both Nongoma and Ulundi.

The provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) says disaster management teams are busy with assessments.  

They are also providing support to the Buthelezi family.

KZN Cogta MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, has sent condolences to the family.

Hlomuka has also warned residents across KZN of the dangers posed by inclement weather conditions in the province, urging them to be cautious.

Fatal Jozini crash case moved to Ingwavuma Regional Court, ‘drunk’ driver denied bail

Fatal Jozini crash case moved to Ingwavuma Regional Court, ‘drunk’ driver denied bail

The truck driver who allegedly caused the multiple vehicle crash that claimed the lives of nine people in Jozini in June has been denied bail in the Ubombo Magistrate’s Court. 

Sipho Ntuli is due to return back to court on January 21.

The case has been moved to the Ingwavuma Regional Court, where a pre-trial conference will be held when the case resumes in the next year.

Ntuli was suspected of being drunk at the time of the accident.  According to preliminary investigations, Ntuli lost control of his vehicle and crashed into five vehicles which included two buses, one mini-bus taxi, one bakkie and a Toyota Condor.  

He is facing a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and nine counts of culpable homicide.  

At least 30 people were injured in the accident.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Bheki Ntuli, has welcomed the court’s decision to remand Ntuli in custody.

“We applaud the Magistrate’s decision to deny bail for the accused as we believe that releasing the accused on bail would not have been in the interest of justice. The Court’s ruling will also send out a strong message to motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol in our province especially during the festive season and we believe such drivers should be harshly punished for their reckless behaviour,” he says.

He has also commended the Jozini Police Station investigators for working “tirelessly to build a water-tight case.” 

MEC Ntuli says KwaZulu-Natal will be stepping up police visibility and law enforcement operations, as part of its festive season safety plan and provincial crime-fighting intervention programme titled Operation Vala, which will be launched by Premier Sihle Zikalala on Friday.

Below is an interview MEC Ntuli had with Maputaland FM soon after the loss of lives in Jozini.