Respect our territory – Toto

2015-07-08 06:00
KGOSI PELONOMI TOTO, chairperson of the Northern Cape Provincial House of Traditional Leaders.

KGOSI PELONOMI TOTO, chairperson of the Northern Cape Provincial House of Traditional Leaders.

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WHILE Kgosi Pelonomi Toto, chairperson of the Northern Cape Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, addressed the local government summit in the Mitah Seperepere Hall in Kimberley, other traditional leaders were locked in a heated debate with Gugile Nkwinti, minister of Land Reform and Rural Development, to discuss land-related legislation including the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA).

Toto said the challenge they faced was setting up legislation. She said this made the existence of traditional leadership difficult, because they felt they had not been duly consulted, and now that the act was in existence, they felt that it was aimed at disempowering traditional leadership.

Without administration of land, traditional leaders and traditional councils will be irrelevant in a democratic dispensation.

Calling on traditional leaders and municipalities, Toto said: “Traditional leaders feel that their role is not meaningful and they are actually not meaningfully consulted regarding the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) processes.

“There is still no formal relationship between councillors and traditional leaders, in that their roles continue to be questioned by councillors within their jurisdiction. Municipalities continue to impose development in their respective areas without the operation and management of these infrastructures.

“The burning issue is that when contractors are appointed to conduct work in the traditional leaders’ area, they end up mining soil and do not pay for resources, but they make provision for that when they bill their clients.

“This exploits the traditional communities. Sometimes the municipalities bring contractors into their villages and traditional leaders only know about this later.”

On improving communication between traditional leaders and councillors, Toto proposed that respect is cultivated and that quarterly meetings between themselves and mayors should be held were necessary. She proposed advice on IDP development, implementation, provision of feedback on progress and the impact, as well as general sharing of information during these engagements.

Toto asked the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA) in the province to include traditional leaders in the composition of ward committees in building the capacity of councillors, and for uniformity across municipalities.

The two-day summit was held on Thursday (02/07) and Friday (03/07) and was attended by Andries Nel, the deputy minister of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Alvin Botes, MEC for CoGHSTA, premier Sylvia Lucas, mayors, municipal managers and councillors in the province

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