Traditional leaders called to unite for agrarian revolution

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says in honour of the late Queen Mother of Amapondo Asenyandeni, traditional leaders and other stakeholders must unite and use their land efficiently for agricultural purposes.

The Minister said by joining hands to advocate for the agrarian revolution in the country, land could be used to fight rural poverty.

“The Department of Traditional Affairs is coordinating all relevant government departments to actively participate in the Agrarian Revolution Programme, which will be driven at district level to ensure that socio-economic development is realised and people’s lives are improved,” said Mkhize.

The Minister said this was to ensure a viable rural economy to reduce the urbanisation phenomenon, which is on a sharp rise and creating many challenges in the urban areas.

Mkhize made the remarks when he delivered national government’s message of support and condolence at the funeral of Queen Mother Fikelephi Bongolethu Ndamase of AmaMpondo AseNyandeni on Saturday.

The funeral was attended by dignitaries from government, political parties, traditional leaders and South African royal houses.

Mkhize was representing national government on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who had declared a special provincial funeral for the Queen Mother, who passed away on 7 June.

The Minister acknowledged the role that the Queen Mother played in developing the community of AmaMpondo during her 11 years as a regent, where she partnered with government to implement various community development projects.

He said the leadership role she played, as a traditional leader of her community, should provide a source of encouragement for all women leaders not to be apologetic when taking up leadership roles.

The Queen Mother was known for her steadfast views and advocacy for royal women to participate in the process of identifying successors of traditional leaders.

Legislation to support traditional leadership

Meanwhile, the Minister said CoGTA was working hard to strengthen the institutions of traditional leaders and ensure that they are capacitated to lead, empower and develop their communities.

“We have tabled three pieces of legislation in Parliament dealing with the institution of traditional leadership: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill, 2017; Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill, 2015; and Customary Initiation Bill, 2018,” said Mkhize.

The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill seeks to ensure that structures of traditional leaders are established without waiting for a comprehensive traditional leadership.

The Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill brings together the National House of Traditional Leaders, as well as the traditional leadership governance into one Bill. It also sets up processes to recognise the Khoi, San, Griqua and Nama communities and their traditional authorities, while criminalising any person who portrays themselves as a traditional leader of whatever level without being identified by the royal family and recognised by government.

The Customary Initiation Bill seeks to monitor initiation from national down to local levels. It ensures that all relevant stakeholders are properly involved in the initiation practice and criminalises any act that is against the law. –