KZN vote on bill to back tradition

2009-11-03 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal legislature will vote in support of the Traditional Leadership Bill and the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill to be adopted by the national Parliament next year.

The province will vote for the bills after opposition parties lost in the votes for or against the bills in legislature yesterday.

The purpose of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill will be, among other things, to provide for the recognition of kingship and the withdrawal of such re­cognition; provide for the establishment and recognition of kingship councils and to regulate election of members of local houses of traditional leaders.

The Traditional Leadership Bill seeks, among other things, to continue the existence of the National House of Traditional Leaders with added responsibilities; the composition of the national house to the representative of all provin­ces, including the provinces that have recently acquired traditional communities after the re-determination of provincial boundaries; and streamlining the process of electing members of the national house in the provinces, determining powers and duties of the national house in line with the White Paper on Traditional Leadership and Governance.

However, opposition parties debated the passing of the bills. Roman Liptak (IFP) said governance based on traditional institutions is the backdrop of democracy in Africa in general, and in a democratic South Africa in particular.

“It is unfortunate that we have had to wait so many years for a legal framework that would ensure that traditional leadership functions in a manner that contri­butes to the entrenchment of a democra­tic culture in our traditional communities,” said Liptak.

He said this legal vacuum, coupled with rapid social change in post-apartheid South Africa, has done little to enhance the status of traditional leaders and their standing in our communities.

“We have long argued that the national, provincial, and district houses of traditional leaders, as well as the traditional councils, should be provided with powers and adequate resources to enable them to carry out their functions in a meaningful way. This legislation makes an explicit provision for support to the national House by government in respect of administration, finances, capacity … and resources. We will, however, believe it when we see it.”

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