Mantashe on royal system: should state fund fragmentation?

2010-11-19 15:25

Fragmentation in South Africa’s royal system posed problems in terms of determining benefits and engaging with the leaders, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said.

“In South Africa we are dealing with a fragmented system, wherein there is no single kingdom but a single or multiple tribal kings in a given tribe,” he told traditional leaders at the national general meeting of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa).

Mantashe said for government this fragmentation makes it difficult to engage “coherently” with the various kingdoms.

He said the apartheid regime created a system of divide and rule within kingdoms while wars and inter-tribal conflict had also contributed.

The apartheid government nevertheless created kingdoms to make sure there were no amaXhosa, amaMpondo and abaThembu as single nations, said Mantashe.

He told the traditional leaders that only the chiefs and kings themselves could help the country in the “noble” objective of nation building.

Mantashe said where nations were fragmenting themselves it begs the question whether the state should fund the fragmentation.

“This cannot be attractive for government. It is unattractive in that it is a process of converting headmen without royal blood into chiefs and therefore, doubling the number of chiefs.”

Mantashe said this would not send a message of strengthening the “institution” but rather of “resource grabbing”.

Contralesa’s NGC meets until Sunday in Kimberley to review various government policies, laws and by-laws affecting people in rural and semi-urban areas.

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