His excellency, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, met with the Fifth National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) to formally bid them farewell as their term of office has come to an end, particularly those members of the NHTL who will not be part of the soon to be reconstituted Sixth National House of Traditional Leaders.
Addressing those gathered on the occasion to close the Fifth NHTL, President Zuma emphasized the importance of this sector of our society in our country as being part of our rich heritage.
The National House of Traditional Leaders consists of 23 members (three from each Province, including two from Gauteng Province – except the Western Cape, where there are no officially recognised traditional leaders). The term of the Fifth National House begun in 16 August 2012 and came to an end on 16 August 2017. The National House of Traditional Leaders is a statutory body of traditional leaders at a national level. The NHTL was tasked with the responsibility of championing the interests of traditional communities in South Africa, as well as to provide support to government and give advice on matters that have an impact on traditional communities.
Minister Des van Rooyen joined President Zuma in thanking Kgosi PP Maubane (Chairperson), Ikosi SE Mahlangu (Deputy Chairperson) and the entire membership of the House for a job well done. The end of the current term brings new members who will assist to move this important sector forward through being part of our democratic dispensation. The President and the Minister extended a warm welcome to the coming members of the Sixth National House and those of the seven (7) Provincial Houses.
We are confident that the new members of all Houses across the country will continue the good work and thus leaving a lasting legacy, especially insofar as matters of development, service delivery and nation building are concerned.
After two decades of democratic rule in South Africa, a lot of strides were made, and our people are aware of the gains made. The Minister indicated that even though there are key successes thus far, there is still a lots of work and outstanding issues that have to be adequately addressed and accelerated to ensure the growth of this important sector.
Amongst the many successes of the outgoing house were:
- The successful hosting of the Indaba of Indigenous and Traditional Leaders, that took place in late May to early June 2017.
- Maintained unity within the entire institution of traditional leadership
- Partnered with government on key programmes like land reform and other key programmes.
- Contributed to the number of legislations that are before Parliament
- Participating in Agri-parks
- Involvement in campaigns geared to stopping violence against women and children.
- Worked with all stakeholders to ensure safer initiation practice in the country. Judging by the 2017 Winter Initiation Season – the interventions are beginning to yield results.
The Indaba is a key milestone of the fifth house and it brought together many traditional leaders and stakeholders who discussed various issues that relate to this important institution. The Indaba saw a number of key resolutions taken out of which a Programme of Action has been developed. These successes resulted from the cordial and amicable relationship that existed between government and the National House. The work done thus far was characterized by professionalism, passion, excellence and dedication, hence the successes we had.
Processes are already afoot to effectively implement the Resolutions taken during the Indaba in consultation with the relevant Government Ministries and Departments to address the identified issues. These Ministries include Rural Development and Land Reform, Mineral Resources, Small Business Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The President, as the head of State and Government of the Republic of South Africa, interacted with Traditional Leaders through various platforms, like during the Official Opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders and the subsequent Debates of the Speeches rendered during the Official Opening, for the last five years.
In September 2017 the Ministry and the National House of Traditional Leaders are planning a follow-up Dialogue between Traditional Leaders and other partners, including civil society. “I am certain the Resolutions from the Indaba and Dialogue will constitute a Compass that will guide the coming members of the National House of Traditional Leaders on the path ahead”, said the President.
I am confident that efforts such as these will go a long way in restoring the dignity of the institution of traditional leadership. In many debates that took place in the last five years of the current term, a number of key issues were solved, whilst others are still being addressed.
The issues raised included, among others, the following:
- Land matters, including the reopening of the land claims process
- The role of traditional leaders in crime prevention;
- The role of traditional leaders in moral regeneration;
- The role of traditional leaders in matters of development and service delivery
- The role of traditional leaders in other programmes of government in conjunction with the relevant Ministries.
As a caring government, we fully understand the concerns and aspirations of our people, and we are doing everything possible to ensure a better life for them. It is such institutions like the one on Traditional Leadership that are important to ensure dignity of communities is restored as they are able to practice their own cultures.
“I have no doubt that your families, your traditional communities, your Traditional Councils, your Local Houses, Provincial Houses, and of course the National House of Traditional Leaders, are proud of you for having availed yourselves to serve the institution of traditional leadership, traditional communities and the country as a whole”, said the President.
Looking at the work that was done during the Fifth Term of the National House, South Africa is indeed a good story to tell. This story of a developing and growing South Africa is a result of working together to build a country that we had envisaged.
The President called on traditional leaders to make their voice heard as their role is guaranteed by our Constitution. Traditional Leaders were urged to play a more positive role in building our country and nation. Hence as a caring government we will continue to strive do more to defeat the triple challenges faced by our country.
The President concluded by wishing all the Members who will reconstitute the Sixth National House of Traditional Leaders well. He also wished the soon to be elected new members of the house well. “I have no doubt that this House will be in good hands, in the same way as it was during the Fifth National House”, said the President.
The Chairperson, Kgosi Maubane, officially dissolved the fifth term of the National House of Traditional Leaders in terms of Section 21 (a) of the National House of Traditional Leaders Act, 2009 (Act no. 22 of 2009).
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