An Eastern Cape chief has been suspended for 10 years, without pay, for forcing a couple of have sex in full view of the public.
Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha said on Wednesday that he had suspended Chief Bhekabambo Ntola of the Amantshangase traditional council after an ad hoc committee recommended his immediate suspension as a traditional leader.
“Chief Ntola was accused of humiliating two individuals accused of committing adultery in his village. In conducting its work, the committee gave everybody affected an opportunity to present his or her case including the witnesses,” Cogta said in a statement. “The committee has verified the allegations against Mr Ntola and found him guilty of humiliating the two individuals.”
In February, the Daily Dispatch reported that the incident happened in 2016 but was only recently brought to the attention of authorities.
The publication quoted Petros Majola of the Khula Community Development Project as saying: “The woman from Mkhumeni location was a married woman and was accused of having an extramarital affair. She was taken to tribal court where [the chief] ordered her to undress in front of the community members at the meeting.”
Majola said the woman had initially refused, but had been forced to comply. She was then forced to have intercourse with the man she was accused of having an affair with.
In its statement on Wednesday, Cogta said the committee had also instructed Ntola to apologise to the complainant, her family and to the public. He has also been ordered to apologise to the man accused of committing adultery and to his family.
“Mr Ntola has been further directed to undergo counselling during this period of suspension assisted by the royal family and submit reports to the department.”
Cogta said Nqatha had a duty to ensure that leaders and institutions falling within its ambit discharged their duties in a dignified and humane manner that was gender sensitive.
“I have carefully considered and applied my mind to the report which included aggravating and mitigating factors as well as the findings and recommendations,” said Nqatha.
“Due to the seriousness of the misconduct he committed that affected the emotional and psychological being of the victims badly, and the traditional community at large, I also considered Mr Ntola’s personal circumstances in mitigation of the seriousness of the misconduct, but unfortunately aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors in this case,” Nqatha said.
He described Ntola’s conduct as a “disgrace” to the traditional leadership institution.
“I therefore agreed with sanctions as recommendations in the report,” he said.
Cogta said a criminal case had been opened against Ntola over same the matter.