Traditional leaders, govt 'must co-operate'
Cape Town - It is critical that there be cordial working relations between traditional leaders and municipalities so that progress can be made with rural development and poverty alleviation in the rural areas, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
"After much deliberation, we agreed to a summit [on] the institution of traditional leadership and local government to discuss how these two institutions would work together," he said in his annual address to the National House of Traditional Leaders.
The summit would help to clarify the place and role of traditional leaders in a democratic society and how the institution should relate to organs of the state especially at the local government level, he said.
The summit was postponed to later this year because of the local government elections and also to allow time for an assessment of the state of governance of traditional affairs in the various provinces.
To date, provincial assessments had been conducted in the Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo, while KwaZulu-Natal and North West would be assessed soon.
The general analysis revealed a number of cross-cutting issues, including that there was minimal support of traditional leadership in most provinces.
Also, there were limited resources to support the institution, and there were poor relations between elected local government councillors and traditional leaders in some areas.
"I have no doubt that the assessment will contribute effectively to the enhancement of the institution of traditional leadership and the success of the envisaged summit," he said.
"It is good that by the time the summit takes place, the new municipal leadership would have settled and work will begin to build relations.
"Such relations, in our view, should take into account the different roles of traditional leaders who are born into their positions and councillors who are elected representatives.
"One cannot replace the other, but there should be a co-operative working relationship," Zuma said.