Pretoria - The National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) has welcomed the retention of Sicelo Shiceka as the Minister of the new Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
The former Department of Provincial and Local Government was renamed the department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as part of the many structural changes to government, announced by President Zuma on Sunday. Mr Shiceka stays on in the department. He had replaced Minister Sydney Mufamadi, who had resigned in September last year.
Speaking to BuaNews, NHTL spokesperson, Mandla Linda said the fact that Mr Shiceka was staying on in the post was encouraging given his understanding of the role and challenges facing traditional leaders.
"We are happy that the new government confirmed the pronouncement made by former President Thabo Mbeki in April last year. It is also encouraging that the new government appointed the person we've been expecting to work with.
"The NHTL is looking forward to working efficiently and effectively with Mr Shiceka so that our community can receive proper service delivery," he said.
Mr Linda said since his appointment in September as the Minister of Provincial and Local Government, Mr Shiceka had worked well with traditional leaders.
"When he arrived at the department of Provincial and Local Government, he requested traditional leaders to join him during his consultation meetings in all the country's nine provinces.
"We are proud of him because of his understating of moving along with traditional leaders in all issues affecting our communities. We've tabled our challenges to him and we are still waiting for him to give us direction.
"He is also aware of all our projects which are in the pipeline, so we strongly believe working with a man of his calibre, we will significantly improve the living conditions of our people," Mr Linda said.
Mr Mbeki made the pronouncement when addressing the NHTL at the Tshwane Metropolitan Council Chambers last year.
According to Mr Mbeki at the time, the new department which was approved by his Cabinet in March 2008, was going to be known as the Department for Traditional Leadership.
The Department of Provincial and Local Government was tasked with leading the process for the establishment of the new department.
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) has also given Mr Shiceka the nod.
In a statement, chairperson, Amos Masondo said: "SALGA welcomes the appointment of Sicelo Shiceka as the Minister of the newly established Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs."
He said Mr Shiceka has proven to be a hard-working, passionate, visionary and consultative leader since joining the ministry last year.
"These characteristics have contributed to good progress registered during his short spell.
"We believe that with him still at the helm, local government will take greater strides in meeting the challenges facing our sector so that quality services are delivered faster and efficiently to our people," he said.