His Excellency, President JGÂ Zuma
Chairperson and Deputy of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Kgosi P P Maubane and Inkosi Mahlangu
Ministers and Deputy Ministers present
Acting Premier of Gauteng Province,
Leaders of Political Parties
Members of Parliament and NCOP
Deputy President of SALGA,
Executive Mayors, Mayors and councillors
President and Executive members of Contralesa,
Chairpersons of the Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders and all Traditional Leaders present
Chairperson of the National Khoi-San Council
Leaders of Chapter 9 institutions, Demarcation Board and other institutions
Academics and Religious Leaders present
Directors-General and Provincial HODs
National and provincial officials
Avuxeni, Molweni, Sanibonani,Dumelang,Goie Moering, Good Morning.
It is my honour and pleasure to welcome you to the first ever Indegineous and Traditional Leaders Indaba.
We acknowledge this is long overdue.
We thank you for your attendance and willingness to engage with us further.
We believe this is an excellent opportunity for the institution of traditional leadership to ventilate their challenges, expound on their roles and reaffirm their commitment to the economic and social transformation of South Africa.
The Indaba offers you a platform to raise issues of concern around your understanding of the institution of traditional leadership and its mandate in a democratic South Africa.
It fosters the creation of formal or recognised platforms and structures for further engagements and debate to promote dialogue.
The Indaba is an important avenue for the harmonisation of relationships with communities, other sectors and government.
Certainly, as we mark Africa Month and seek to encourage and affirm the significance of the different cultures within our country, this Indaba stimulates both nation building and Social Cohesion.
The centrality of the Constitution in a democratic South Africa is paramount.
It is the sweet fruit of generations of struggle that many of our forebears have paid the ultimate price for.
As we strive to affirm the institution of traditional leadership in a democratic South Africa, this Indaba will assist in addressing the issue of cultural practices that threaten the legislative rights of individuals and communities.
The role of traditional leaders in radical socio – economic transformation, especially on matters related to land, will also deserve further contemplation.
We hope that these and other issues will be clarified at the end of the Indaba.
That the institution of traditional leadership is now well-recognised in a democratic South Africa is in no small way due to the leadership of our Honourable President.
Since his inauguration in 2009 he has ensured that the role of traditional leaders has been affirmed.
Most importantly, the Department has tabled the Traditional and KhoiSan Leadership in Parliament, to give effect to the recognition of the KhoiSan leaders, structures and their respective communities. The proposed legislation would be a milestone in the history of the Republic since it will allow for statutory recognition and participation in the establishment structures and institutions that interface with government. This would complete the call for unity in diversity and nation building. We are therefore delighted that the KhoiSan leadership is represented in this dialogue.
This has been the hallmark of our presidentâ€™s leadership â€“ struggling for the downtrodden, the voiceless and the overlooked.
He joined the African National Congress in 1959, at the age of 17.
At the age of 21 he was incarcerated in Robben Island, sentenced to 10 years for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government.
These are some of the sacrifices made by our president.
It is these experiences that have guided his actions.
It is no wonder that his role in guiding our country has ensured that service delivery has improved to millions of our citizens.
He has made it his lifeâ€™s duty to struggle for the poorest of the poor.
He is a hero of the masses, those voiceless citizens who donâ€™t have access to Facebook or Twitter.
His leadership has changed their lives, has ensured that they have running water.
That they have a home to walk into for the first time.
That they cook with electricity.
That they drink water from a tap, and not a river.
After years of Â denials and the academic debate on whether HIV causes AIDS or not,Â it is under his capable leadership that we saw antiretroviral medication rolled out to millions of our HIV infected citizens ensuring that more lives were saved.
Ladies and Gentlemen I guarantee you, when real Â history is told, this is the president who will be remembered for bringing hope to millions of our citizens.
Join me as I present to you to the President of the Republic of South Africa,
His Excellency, President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.