Go to the grave and inform the late chief of court win, says Chief Gilbert Tshikalange
Chief George Sonto was a freedom fighter
Chief Gilbert Tshikalange of Tshififi in Vhembe, one of the founders of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa and a known friend and comrade of the late George Sonto Mahonisi of the Mahonisi community has advised the royal family to go to the late Mahonisi’s grave to inform of the court win.
This follows a verdict in the Thohoyandou High Court that ruled in favour of the Mahonisi chieftainship’s favour.
Judge J Muller ruled that the formerly headman Mahonisi is a senior traditional leader.
That is a fight started by the late leader who started off with going to the Ralushai Commission in 1996 to make his claim.
Said Tshikalange: “Tell hosi Mahonisi to go to his father’s grave and inform him of the verdict. IT works.”
Chief Tshikalange said the late leader was a freedom fighter who was not merely fighting for chieftainship but for the total freedom of black people in South Africa.
“He was a freedom fighter and we worked together underground,” said hosi Tshikalange who was detained several times for his fight for freedom.
He said he, hosi Mahonisi and others fought for freedom. “We formed Contralesa but after freedom we found ourselves still had to fight battles.”
He said he was happy when he learnt of the high court verdict that restored the senior traditional leadership to Mahonisi.
“Although it happens after my friend and comrade who fought so hard for it has passed on, I am happy this finally happened,” he said.
He added that the late chief fought a bigger fight that was achieved in 1994.
“He was one of the founders of Contralesa and voted for us when we were the first executive. Although he was not in the delegation that went to Lusaka to talk with the ANC about our plans, he was in the delegation that met Kgalema Motlanthe when he was the secretary general, ” he said.
Another leader who hailed the verdict is Hosi Joas Makuleke who was also a friend of the late leader.
“We started such battles together and I am very happy that this has been won although after he passed on, ” he said.
The Mahonisi area formerly fell under the Mavambe Traditional Council.
Lawyer Gezani Maluleke acting for the Mavambe Traditional Council said he was still to study the judgment.
But he said he believed the land occupied by the community belonged to the Mavambe Traditional Council.
He said he would issue a statement late on whether or not they will appeal the judgment.
The spokesperson of the royal council Amos Mahonisi said: “We are more than happy with the victory. This is after a struggle of 58 years when we were put under the Mavambe Traditional Council against our will.”
He said they would engage with the premier and the MEC for Cogta as a way forward.
“Whoever is not satisfied is free to pursue any avenue and we will meet wherever they take the case to,” he said apparently referring to the Mavambe Traditional Council.