Traditional leaders, govt 'must co-operate'

2011-06-03 17:32

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.

  • Sallie - 2011-06-03 18:07

    Some traditional leaders needs a weak-up call with regards to what is happenning outside their rural village. They tend to sit from morning till late afternoon under the trees in front of their tribal office and hope things will fall out of the sky to bennift them personnaly. Start building RDP houses in ruarl areas and you will see how useless they are

      Zebelon - 2011-06-03 21:54

      Sallie: You are trying to discuss a subject you do not know. To start with, a traditional leader is not confined to a village. Even a headman is not at the head of only one village. Secondly, tribal leaders do not sit under a tree; they have an administrative office with staff who run it.You apparently are urbanised and have been told a story on what happened a hundred years ago. Lastly, what should be their meaningful function today was taken by the present regime - through legislation. That is where uselessness is experienced when it comes to RDP houses; corruption at high places is the name of the game.

  • Kevin - 2011-06-03 19:07

    Ax all traditional leaders off of government payrolls. They are just an unnecessary cost . If the community they are supposed to be serving wants to recognize them they should pay there wages. Other then being a figurehead for that community what value could they possibly have .Away with them

      Zebelon - 2011-06-03 22:00

      @Kevin: Town fellow??? Lack of knowledge on the political life of traditonal people always brings out such thoughts.

  • Marius Rossouw - 2011-06-03 19:12

    Sorry JZ, old china, the last time I checked the traditional leaders were funded with my tax money (which, of course, I think is illegal) and municipalities are elected and your traditional leaders are not. With all due respect, your traditional leaders can go on a hike.

  • Benzo - 2011-06-03 20:39

    One solution?? traditional leaders cold stand for election in their municipalities. It would consirmthe support of the community and they would be paid a salary.

  • Vince.York - 2011-06-03 20:41

    Traditional leaders are THE MOST UNDEMOCRATIC entities (& costly waste of public funds spawning the under-current of corruption & nepotism) in this country, and Zuma and all his tribalistic gang he has foisted onto us need a powerful rocket tied to their ankles as a wake up call! SOUTH AFRICA IS A DEMOCRACY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not a 'zuma' democracy! not an ANC democracy! BUT a South African Democracy. NOT A COMMUNIST GANGLAND. AN ELECTED DEMOCRACY that is, with a strong constitution and ALL positions even president, need be attended by qualified persons, instead of populists. AND there is enough enterprise around for every citizen and visitor to be working hard and full-time & permanently - when this country gets it's head wrapped on right again. The AA & BBBEE fantasy has worn thinner than the almost bankrupt economy it has created. It is STIFLING the country & economy by sidelining it's most precious resource, in favour of any ragtag that happens to be from elsewhere. Just NOT ON.

      one-way - 2011-06-04 08:39

      Thats how they buy the rural vote china. We should be asking how their salaries are determined and what is required of them to earn these salaries.

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-06-03 20:57

    Traditional leadership is burden on the tax payer. If they want to serve their community they must stand for election like everyone else. Divine right died with the dinosaurs.

      Zebelon - 2011-06-03 22:10

      Like the ANCYL that is given millions of rands from state coffers every year to employ themselves, misuse the funds, and give voting support to the party in power. the taxpayer has a heavy burden indeed.

      alansmartSnr - 2012-02-09 14:26

      Yet another circus which cost us taxpayers millions, let alone the corruption goes with it. We live in a democracy and yet Zuma & Co. are enhancing just the opposite. These traditional leaders skills are limited to milking a goat or thatching a mud house. They bring absolutely nothing to the party. They should make themselves available in a structered municipal election or tend to their cattle.

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