Commission to deal with traditional leadership dispute

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pretoria - The Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims was officially launched by acting Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nathi Mthethwa in Pretoria today.

The commission will replace the previous Nhlapo Commission, and was established in terms of Section 22 of the Framework Act. The new commission will be required to handle all claims and disputes lodged with the previous Nhlapo Commission.

"Appointed for a period of five years from January 2011, the commission has already reviewed 800 of the total 1 322 claims and disputes lodged to the Nhlapo Commission," explained Mthethwa.

"Unlike its predecessor, this commission has recommendation powers only instead of decision-making powers. The powers to decide are left with government as its core competency."

Mthethwa said the purpose for the establishment of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims was to restore the dignity and integrity of the traditional leaders and communities, as well as the entire institution of traditional leadership in South Africa. 

He said the commission has already reviewed and analysed all claims and disputes from KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape and Gauteng. 

In the Western Cape, the commission went further and held meetings and public hearings where claimants presented their cases. Mthethwa said the report out of this process will be handed over to President Jacob Zuma, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department and the Premier of the Western Cape. 

The remaining two provinces, Limpopo and North West, will be completed by mid-May 2011. 

"Part of the mandate of the new commission is that it must resolve all claims and disputes within five years and must have an operational plan which will act as a performance agreement with the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister," he said.

To assist the commissioners in achieving this goal, premiers in all provinces except the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and Gauteng will appoint provincial committees that will work with the commission. In those four provinces, Mthethwa said the commission will deal directly will claimants because of the smaller size of claims and disputes, compared to the rest of the country. 

"Government is confident that the commission will settle all disputes and claims and will leave a legacy in dispute resolution in the country," he said. 

Chairperson of the Commission Bagudi Tolo said: "I want to ensure South Africans, especially traditional leaders, that we will analyse their claims and disputes without fear or favour and within our term, which is five years." 

The cut-off date for lodging claims was August last year, but Tolo said new claims could be lodged with the offices of the provincial premiers. 

"Section 21 of the Framework requires that before a claim is referred to the commission, it must have been attended to by the claimant and the party in dispute or the royal family concerned, then to the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, then Premier of the Province if not yet resolved, then the dispute or claim must be referred to commission," he said. 

The current commission is composed of five full-time members who have been appointed after having considered their experience, skills and knowledge in the affairs of traditional leadership. - BuaNews