30 Sep
30Sep

INTRODUCTION

 

PROGRAMME DIRECTOR,

YOUR MAJESTIES KINGS AND REIGNING QUEENS PRESENT:

HONOURABLE PREMIER OF THE EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE;

HONOURABLE MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL FOR CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS;

 

HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL PRESENT;

HOUNABLE SPEAKER AND MEMBERS OF LEGISLATURES;

MEMBERS OF THE PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE CONGRESS OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE LEADERSHIP OF ALL PROGRESSIVE ORGANISATIONS HERE PRESENT;

 

DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF THE EASTERN CAPE HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS AND MEMBERS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE;

HEADS OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICIALS PRESENT;

CHAIRMEN OF LOCAL HOUSES PRESENT;

 

ESTEEMED MEMBERS OF ALL THE HOUSES OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS;

CHAIRPERSONS OF TRADITIONAL COUNCILS;

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS


LADIES AND GENTLEMAN

First and foremost I wish to thank the Honorable MEC for Traditional Affairs for honoring his undertaking to convene this summit and to provide us an opportunity to express ourselves and to provide our government with what we and our communities need in the government’s praise worthy determination to provide a better life for all as a meaningful expression that we have at last achieved our freedom from yoke of Colonial and Apartheid regimes!

I have a singular honor and feel highly elevated indeed to be invited to deliver this message for and on behalf of the institution of traditional leadership in this Provence. I propose to articulate the views of both the Congress of traditional Leaders and Provincial House that I am humbled and privileged to lead. I welcome the invitation to set out the scene by articulating what is necessary for the institution of traditional leadership in South Africa particularly in this Province to re-instate the pride and dignity of the institution of traditional leadership to work hand and glove with all spheres of governance to provide all the people of this province with a system of governance acceptable and respected by all and above all to be embraced by all the people to acclaim in unison that they have achieved and enjoy the freedom from foreign domination defended by our forebears and a struggle for liberation waged by them and later our liberation Movements.

 I intend to put our case succinctly and clearly as the time has come for our government to deliver on its promises to traditional leaders and their communities. I intend to do so without and fear or favour!

I hope our views will meet your expectations as we are desirous that government and all people of South Africa particularly in this Province should understand the importance of re-instating the pride and dignity of the institution of traditional leadership in South Africa by restoring powers and functions and not mere roles to support all those have powers.

 

INSTITUTION OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA

The institution of traditional leadership in South Africa is the people’s institution from time immemorial. It is firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of all South African of African origin. It is the only institution of traditional leadership that is original, authentic and legitimate to govern mother Africa!

What do we mean? Do we understand the institution? I mean all of us! Democratic values underlie our institution of traditional leadership. To start with the head of the family that has a responsibility to protect the moral values of the family, instill discipline within the family at all times. The point I am making, the head of the family has no prerogative to decide for the family and is always guided by the will of all the members of the family. It is for this reason that we need to strengthen families. Furthermore it is the fundamental right of the family concerned to have its leader. The heads of families constitute a locality (isigodi) that must be led a leader chosen amongst them and again the members of such a families who have a right to participate in their affairs and their decisions.

The leaders of such localities constitute under a traditional community known as ilali and such a traditional community is led by a traditional leader, inkosi yelali (so called headman/inkosana etc) who is appointed by a royal family concerned and confirmed by the traditional community concerned through a general meeting (imbizo/imbuzo/diputso call it what you may!) convened for such purpose. Consultation with the community guarantees that principle of allegiance that is necessary to legitimize the traditional leader as the leader of the people. It is on this basis that the government must merely recognize a person identified by the royal family concerned.

The heads of traditional communities together form a structure of a clan concerned under the leadership of a senior traditional leader. This structure is referred to in the constitution as a traditional authority and in the legislation regulating the institution of traditional leadership (ubukhosi), as a Traditional Council.  The traditional communities elect 40% of councilors (men and women) to be members of the Traditional Council. These councilors should ideally be persons who have intimate knowledge and passion of the institution of traditional leadership to assist the head of the Traditional Council in the execution of his /her duties. 

The heads of clans as contemplated above constitute a structure known as a King’s/Queen’s Council that is led by a King or Queen concerned as the case may be. This structure must be composed of councilors selected amongst persons (amaphakathi obukhosi) who must possess the necessary wisdom to assist the leadership of this structure.

The point is therefore made that contrary to some false propaganda ubukhosi is intrinsically democratic and is basterdised only by those who have embraced colonial democracy that promotes westernized norms and values at the expense of African norms and values. Mayibuye! I Africa!

The institution of traditional leadership was identified by the Colonial and Apartheid regime as the pillar of strength of Africans. It is worth noting that a Colonialist once proclaimed that Africans under their traditional leaders were passionate about the institution as well as their culture and customs and would be extremely difficult to conquer them!

It is well-nigh irrefutable that when the Colonialists came they capitalized on our hospitality and brutally killed, maimed, disfigured, enslaved inflicted grievous bodily harm and untold miserable to the institution of traditional leadership. The policy of dived and rule is well known. Ethnicity and tribalism was promoted hence the so called promotion of self-government was promoted to entrench foreign norms and values and demonized virtually all the African norms and values as they were subjected to a repugnancy clause. A foreign systems of governance was introduced and our system was obliterated. In the course of this some legitimate traditional leaders who were fundamentally opposed to all this were banished, jailed and expelled. The Apartheid and homeland government also pursued the onslaught against the institution by banishing and expelling those who were opposed to them. I mention these things to indicate the need for the transformation of our institution and had hoped the Commission would give a platform to transform our institution to restate the pride and dignity of it.

 

 

STRUCTURES OF THE INSTITUTION OF TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP

ROYAL FAMILY

Families constitute basic structures of all our traditional communities and are led by the head of the family who more often than not is a male. Similarly a royal family is constituted by all members of that family and chaired by the universal heir of the seat of traditional leadership concerned or whosoever is chosen to act for him.

We need to critically evaluate this concept as many disputes have emerged as factionalism has reared its ugly head. There is a need to clarify this concept as traditional councilors i.e. amaphakathi akomkhulu have a historical role to play! Above all as indicated above in this presentation the clan has a vested interest on who to lead them. Logic dictates that the clan must be consulted. Again here we must guide against populism and unfortunate culture from the divisive political culture inherited from the violent colonial regimes.

The government policy precludes government involvement in the appointment of any traditional leader as this is the prerogative of the royal family concerned. The government’s role is to recognize any person who has been properly appointed by a royal family concerned.

 

REMUNERATION OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS

The remuneration of traditional leaders since the arrival of colonialists with what Ntsikana Gabha warned us not to accept that button without a hole remain a controversial matter that seem to reduce traditional leaders to be perceived as employees of the government and sometimes fear to raise issues affecting them and their communities . There is an old saying that no one should bite a hand that feeds him or her- Iciko lakwa Xhosa lithi: Ayikhonkothi iphethe ithambo! It is for this reason that we support the government policy that only a Commission of Public office bearers that should determine remuneration of all public office bearers. It is for this reason that persons who should be in the Commission should include a person who should have intimate knowledge and expertise of the institution of traditional leadership.

The glaring disparity between the remuneration of traditional leaders and other public office bearers who are politicians remain a challenge that fortifies the perception that government want to promote them at the expense of the institution of traditional leadership in South Africa. This in our view militates against the noble principle of co-operative governance provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

 

Traditional Councils

We firmly believe that Traditional authorities are key to rural development and for this reason they must have modern office infrastructure such as furniture, stationary, telephones etc. Furthermore they have a decent office accommodation that must have staff under the must leadership of a Manager that must be appointed by the traditional authority concerned to drive developmental Programs in line with development agenda of such authority. Needed to stress the need to have such development programs take into consideration the Municipal (MIDP), Provincial (PGDP) and National Development Programs (NDP).

 

KINGS/QUEENS COUNCILS

The establishment of the Kings and Queen’s Councils that mainly must be composed of all the heads of Traditional Authorities is overdue. This structure, like all Traditional Councils must have decent offices and necessary infra-structure befitting the status of its leader. These structures must be administered by a senior official that must have the necessary qualifications and insight of the institution of traditional leadership. Such a person must be assisted by personnel that must be orientated to administer the affairs of the Council.

 

TRADITIONAL LEADERS PARTICIPATING IN MUNICIPAL COUNCILS

In our quest to foster good relations for the benefit of our communities to obtain a better life through delivery of municipal services, we have elected some of us to participate in all municipal councils. Their primary responsibility is to participate in all the affairs of the Municipal Councils and to make sure that developments interests and program's for both Traditional and Municipal Councils do not collide. We have found and noticed that traditional leaders 

participating in Municipal Council are unfairly discriminated against and all municipal Councils do not treat them the same. We have consequently decided to bring our concerns to SALGA with a view that they be addressed.

 

HOUSES OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS

The rationale behind the establishment of Houses of Traditional Leaders need to be clearly understood. During the negotiations that led to a democratic dispensation in South Africa, we successfully argued for the needed continuation of traditional authorities and participation of traditional leaders at all spheres of government. Our position was and remain that traditional leaders should have a power to veto all bye laws and pieces of legislation that have a bearing on the institution of traditional leadership including cultures and customs of traditional communities. However we could not succeed as Parliament in adopting the final constitution without our participation reneged from our agreement hence our organization: the Congress of traditional leaders of South Africa wanted to interdict the first local government elections and objected to the certification of the Constitution of Republic of South Africa.

 

LOCAL HOUSES OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS

Local Houses have been established for the first time in this province last year. The challenges that were experienced by the Provincial House in 1996 were inherited by them. They continue to experience them.

We are in continuous engagement with the government as we need Local Houses that should have decent office accommodation, remuneration for members inclusive of necessities and privileges to enable them to deliver on their mandate.

We continue engaging government as we need strong local houses to forge partnerships with District and Metropolitan Municipal Councils.

 

Provincial House of Traditional Leaders

When this House was established in 1996, i.e. more than 21 years now, we have modern office that is an envy of all the Houses of traditional leaders in South Africa. This is as a result of years of struggle and sacrifices by traditional leaders of this province particularly their determination to achieve this and more gains by continuous engagement with the government.

We have not achieved all what is necessary for the House to full feel its vision to be the bright light that is a pride of all traditional leadership in this Province

This House carries the aspiration of all the people of this Province from heads of all families –royal or otherwise- we were all elected by imbizo composed of representatives from all the families to establish Local Houses and further elected by all Local Houses to be members of the Provincial House. We therefore pride ourselves as product of African democracy from grass root through regional levels. It is not surprising that the leader of our delegates and all our delegates were elected to key and critical positions in the National House of Traditional Leaders. Asenzanga ngayeza! Nkosi Mhlauli who leads the delegation as the Deputy Chairperson of our National House, Nkosi Ndevu is the chairman of Tradition, Culture and Customs family, whist Nkosi Nobhongo Ngonyana is the chairwoman of Committee on Legislation. I am pleased to report that our delegation continue to raise a flag of the Eastern Cape and make us proud.

 

CLAIMS AND DISPUTES

We continue to face the challenges of the institution from disputes and claims and the incidental rising of numerous royal families claiming to have a right to appoint and remove traditional leaders as well as numerous legal challenges in civil courts in this regard.

This House stands firm in its belief that the institution of traditional leadership need to be transformed to its former glory and to continue to call for the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa to restore powers and function to Traditional Authorities. In this respect, I am pleased to report that from 2000 till National Indaba held last year we have agreed with ANC government that both Chapters 7 and 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa must be amended. We call upon government to make sure that the Constitution is amended before elections 2019!

 

LAND AND ITS EXPROPRIATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION

This House remain true to the cause of struggle for restoration of land and natural resources stolen and taken by force from our forebears by Colonial regime and successive governments. We unashamedly, publicly opposed the

move by those who want to take away land defended by our forebears and their communities through decades of struggle such as Mr. Kgalema Mohlanthe and his cronies who insulted us by calling some of us as,” tin pot village dictators”, and his attempt to divide unity of traditional leaders by falsely telling the people that we in the Eastern Cape are supporting his sell out position. Traditional leaders of this province have chosen one leadership in the form of leadership of both CONTRALESA and the House of Traditional leaders. Traditional leaders have one voice and we have made crystal clear that 13% defended by our forebears will remain in the hands of traditional leadership and administered by traditional authorities in accordance with norms and values firmly entranced in our African legal system.

We take this opportunity to make it clear that we are opposed to Community Property Associations (CPAs) in areas under the jurisdiction of the Traditional Authorities.

 

SPARTIAL PLANNING AND LAND USE MANAGEMENT (SPLUMA)

Parliament of the Republic of South Africa passed Spatial Planning and Land Use Act No. 16 of 2013 without proper consultation with Houses of Traditional  Leaders in South Africa. We therefore believe that such piece of legislation was never intended to be applicable in our traditional communities. Furthermore administration of land in traditional communities vests in Traditional Authorities concerned.

We voiced our objection to the implementation of the Act in the implementation of the provisions of the Act in all areas within the jurisdiction of traditional authorities.

 We voiced our concerned to the government at the National Indaba held in Johannesburg last year agreed that the Act will not be applicable until our concerns are addressed. It is for this reason and our fundamental objections to its provisions that we remain opposed to it.

We must make one point clear that we are not opposed to the principle of development planning in our areas. In fact the House will draft a discussion document with a view to regulate planning and allocating of land in traditional communities so that its administration is in line with democratic and fair values entrenched in our legal system

 

TRADITIONAL COURTS BILL

We are concerned that Parliament has not passed the Bill which seeks to recognize and regulates dispensing justice in our areas in accordance with African legal system. It is ironic that our government has resourced civil courts inherited from foreign Roman Dutch legal system and seem to be reluctant to affirm Traditional Courts that are based on the principle of reconciliation of parties in accordance with African Legal system. We again call upon government to pass the legislation before the envisaged elections in 2019.

 

MORAL REGENERATION 

Section 75 of Eastern Cape and Traditional Leadership and Governance Act No. 1 of 2017 empowers the Provincial House to work with the National House to promote amongst other things the preservation of the moral fiber and regeneration of society.

Since the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in 1996,and promotion of individual rights, we have been experiencing promotion of liberal values that offends values entrenched in the African/Customary law.

The house in the process of developing a discussion document with a view that all traditional structures to embark on a programme to lead our communities back to African moral norms and values in this century. 

We have noted the initiative taken by Alfred Nzo Local House when it entrusted this programme under the leadership of its Deputy Chairwoman, Nkosi Hlamandana. Siyabulela Sihlalo wendlu: Jongilanga!

 

ADMINISTRATION OF TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS

We have been experiencing unfair discrimination in the administration of traditional affairs in this province. The administration of traditional affairs from Local through Reginal and at Provincial level seem to us deserving serious attention. The conditions of office accommodation from district level and at regional level is in our view not conducive to enable the officials to perform their 

duties well. The death of many of such officials and sickness they experience need serious attention.

We also note that the budget allocated to the directorate responsible for our affairs is far lower than that allocated to Municipal affairs!

We are of the view that in any event the challenges at Municipal Councils demand a lot of attention such that our affairs are suffering.

We consequently request the government to accept the demand which was voiced out by CONTRALESA at the time Dr. Nelson Mandela was the President namely: the establishment of a Department of traditional leaders and Agrarian Reform with a minister who should ideally be a traditional leader or a person who have necessary skill and expertise in our traditional affairs.

 

INITIATIVES OF TRADITIONAL AUTHORITIES

We have noted the praise worthy initiatives by traditional Councils under traditional leaders. This teaches us that notwithstanding challenges we may be experiencing, we should stand up on our own to develop our traditional leaders without relying on government. AmaZulu athi :” Ixoxo lixigxumela…alikho ixoxo eligxumelelinye!” We take this opportunity to congratulate Nkosi Jongilanga, Nkosi Dumalisile, Nkosi Mavuso, Nkosi Gwazinamba Matanzima for having made us proud in the previous season and hope many more will join their wonderful example.

 

CONCLUSION

We hope that all traditional leaders present will seize the moment provided to us to capitalize on the gains achieved thus far and redouble our efforts to advance the interest of the institution of traditional leadership and our communities.

We wish you all fruitful deliberations and look forward to the adoption of a declaration to enhance the needed mutual trust between the government and the institution of traditional leadership.

 

I thank you!

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