"Government should be taking the lead from traditional leaders as they know and understand the needs of their communities," Tlhape said.
If necessary, traditional leaders should summon government and advise it on what needed to be done in their communities, she said.
"They should be directing government's programme because they are better placed in the communities.
"We must demonstrate co-operation between traditional leaders and government in our province, our communities should see us working together not against each other."
Tlhape was on a consultation drive in the province following her appointment to the provincial cabinet last month.
She has met traditional leaders in Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Ngaka Modiri Molema Districts and the North West House of Traditional Leaders.
"Issues that traditional leaders have raised, include capacitating the administration supporting staff complement at traditional council and district offices," Tlhape said.