Calls for improved traditional leadership

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pretoria - Acting Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, has called for a strengthening of governance in traditional leadership structures.

Speaking to traditional leaders at a workshop hosted by the Department of Traditional Affairs in Durban, Mthethwa said better governance would result in the challenges facing traditional leaders and communities being adequately addressed.

Traditional leaders, like all public representatives tasked with the responsibility of serving the public in South Africa, must be guided by principles of good governance, he added.

The tendency to repeatedly remove chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of the National House of Traditional Leaders before they complete their term of office was an indication that something was seriously wrong with the management of the institution, Mthethwa said.

"The current term of the House has seen three different chairpersons and three different deputy chairpersons assuming positions at different times. When this current term comes to an end in May 2012, there would have been no Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the House who would have served a full five-year term of office," he noted.

The minister also highlighted the importance of promoting of service delivery; fostering unity and partnerships among traditional leaders with all spheres of government; accountability to government, structures of traditional leaders and rural communities; clarification of roles between traditional leadership and government structures; and transparency in terms of leadership and the utilisation of financial and other resources.

An assessment of the state of governance at traditional leadership level is currently underway.

The process is expected to help identify areas where there might be discrepancies in dealing with traditional leadership in the provinces, with a view to devising an all-encompassing strategy to deal with the identified challenges.

The assessments have been completed in most of the provinces.

Once all the process has been finalised, the provincial assessments would be compiled to give government a clear picture of the state of traditional affairs in the country, Mthethwa said.

The aim of Tuesday's workshop was to assess the state of governance in traditional affairs in KwaZulu-Natal.

Traditional leaders, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, CoGTA MEC Nomusa Dube and other senior government officials also participated in the workshop.