Johannesburg - North West Premier Thandi Modise on Saturday urged those involved in a traditional leadership dispute not to allow it to prevent them from voting in the upcoming elections.
"Communities in Ga-Ramokokastad, Phadi, Mmorogong, Bojating, Rankelenyane, Module, Gevonden and Mantserre should on Wednesday exercise their hard-won right to choose a government of their choice knowing that the provincial government respects the autonomy of the institution of traditional leaders," Modise's spokesperson Lesiba Moses Kgwele said.
Kgwele said that the provincial government had no interest in "meddling" in traditional leadership affairs; "except to work with whosoever will ultimately emerge as the legitimate leader and themselves as partners for development".
Kgwele was referring to allegations that had been made that Modise was delaying the resolution of a dispute in the Ba-Phalane Royal family.
The dispute arose when a member of the Ba-Phalane Royal family, Bosman Noah Ramakoka challenged the right of Kgosi James Ramokoka who had taken over as chief after his father's death.
The dispute went to the Commission on Traditional Leadership Claims. However, Kgosi James Ramakoka then launched a bid in court to stop the commission's investigation. This bid was dismissed in court in March 2013.Preventing villagers from voting
Modise subsequently said the commission had been delayed in finalising its investigation.
In the interim, supporters of Bosman Noah Ramakoka formed the Bakwena Ba-Phalane Action Committee.
In the build-up to the 7 May elections, the action committee apparently said it would ensure that people in seven villages within the Moses Kotane municipality, that it represents, would not vote because of the delay.
The premier urged people not to stay away from the polls as she said that the commission in fact worked completely independently from government.
"Government does not impose traditional leaders or have its preference because it divides the community.
"Government has done everything on its part," Kgwele said.
He said that the premier called on the commission to expedite its investigation but that the dispute should not be used for "mischievous political opportunism".
Take a look at News24's map
to see how voting shifted in the province between 2004 and 2009.Download the app by visiting one of these app stores.