Media Statements

The National Indaba of Traditional Leaders is an important milestone

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (CoGTA), will convene the National Indaba for Traditional Leaders from 28 May to 02 June 2017 at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, Gauteng Province.

The Indaba will be held under the theme “Unity in Diversity – Together moving South Africa Forward for an inclusive prosperous future”. This strategic platform (Indaba) will bring together key stakeholders across various sectors in a dialogue that will assist to chart the way forward for this institution of traditional leaders and its rightful location in our democratic society.

This Indaba comes just few weeks after His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma officially opened and also engaged traditional leaders during the debate of his speech in Cape Town. In that occasion the President emphasised the work being done to help improve this age old institution of traditional leadership. The President also used the gathering at the time to call for unity in action to achieve good governance and the development of our communities.

He further invited traditional leaders to work with government to make the Back-to-Basics programme in government a success. Importantly, he urged them to make use of government programmes to bring about economic stability and cultural development in rural areas.

The institution of traditional leadership represents the early form of societal organisation. It embodies the preservation of culture, traditions, customs and values and it continues to evolve with changing times. The institution of traditional leadership was the form of government with the highest authority for years in South Africa and elsewhere in the world.

In South Africa, this role was drastically changed when the colonial authorities and rulers introduced their authority to the landscape of traditional governance.

Now that South Africa is a democracy, this change impacted this age old institution. Since 1994, the Traditional Leadership institution has been empowered through various pieces of legislation and policies to play an important role in the governance of the people where they are located. It is within this context that our constitution makes provision for the coexistence of both the Local Government and Traditional Leadership. It is such challenges and issues that the Indaba will discuss extensively and emerge with recommendations and the declaration that will map and clarify the role and place of this important sector.


His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma will deliver a keynote address at this Indaba. The keynote address by the President will set the tone for the entire Indaba and the deliberations that are expected to ensue throughout. On 29 May, identified Ministers will address the Indaba and then participate in a panel discussion during plenary.

The Indaba will also receive perspectives from various political parties on the subject of traditional leadership and how they view this sector in society. At the end of the Indaba – the resolutions will be compiled into a declaration which will be read towards the end of the indaba and then His Excellency, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a closing address.

The Indaba will be convened under the following objectives:

  1. Create platform to raise issues and understand the institution, dynamics and mandate;
  2. Institutionalisation of engagements to promote dialogue
  3. Harmonisation of relationships
  4. Nation Building and Social Cohesion in the context of Ubuntu
  5. Seek to resolve cultural practices violating constitutional and legislative rights of individuals and communities
  6. The role of traditional leaders in radical economic development and land matters

Guide by the inputs made by President Jacob Zuma and the extensive deliberations, the Indaba is expected to come up with the following outcomes:

  1. Having clarity on land ownership, tenure rights and land use.
  2. Role of traditional leadership clarified
  3. Clarity on the role of the institution in Nation Building and Social Cohesion in the context of Ubuntu;
  4. Promotion of cooperative governance;
  5. Clarity on the contribution of the institution to the socio-economic development agenda and sustainable development

To achieve the above objective and to arrive envisaged outcomes, the Indaba will focus on the following areas:

  1. Land matters (Ownership, tenure rights and economic development)
  2. Institutional Capacity (Support and Budgetary matters)
  3. Social Cohesion and nation building in the context of Ubuntu
  4. Constitutional and Legislative mandate

Of importance – the Indaba confirms the importance of the institution of Traditional leadership in South Africa and the role that it plays to ensure a strengthened democracy that is able to deliver as per expectations of communities in South Africa.



Legadima Leso
083 378 9495
CoGTA Communications