President Jacob Zuma has asked traditional communities to embark on a path of “acceptance, healing and reconciliation” after a recommendation by a traditional leadership commission that South Africa lose six of its kings and queens.
Zuma, who was announcing the findings of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims, said it was essential that the six king- and queenships come to an end in order to “correct the wrongs of the past”.
Zuma said: “The apartheid regime created its own traditional leadership at the expense of authentic leadership in some communities. It was how those in charge divided and disunited people. All we are doing is correcting the wrongs of the past.”
The commission, established by then president Thabo Mbeki in 2004 to resolve disputes on “paramountcies and chieftaincy”, concluded that South Africa has only seven legitimate kingships and recommended that the others lose their status on the death of the current incumbents.
The seven that are recognised are the AbaThembu, the AmaXhosa and the AmaMpondo in the Eastern Cape, the AmaZulu in KwaZulu-Natal, the BaPedi ba Maroteng, the VhaVenda in Limpopo, and the AmaNdebele in Mpumalanga.
The paramountcies that are not recognised are the Batlokwa ba Mota and the Kakwena baMopeli in the Free State; the AmaRharbabe, the Amampondo ase-Nyandeni, and the AbaThembu base-Rhode in the Eastern Cape; and the Ndundza Mabhoko in Mpumalanga.
Zuma said: “We urge all communities to accept the findings in the spirit of correcting the wrongs of the past as part of the country’s nation building efforts. It enabled us to restore dignity to the institution of traditional leadership. The findings must help all affected communities to begin the path of acceptance, healing and reconciliation.”
The commission will next make findings and recommendations on the next layer of traditional leadership – the principal traditional leadership, senior traditional leadership and headmanship.