Speaking ahead of the reconstitution of the National House of Traditional Leaders, the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des van Rooyen indicated that democratic State cannot be successful without working together with the institution of traditional leaders as they are custodians of traditions and cultures of their people. They are the rightful leaders of their own communities in their areas of jurisdiction.
Deputy Minister Obed Bapela indicated that its all systems go to the reconstitution of the fifth National House of Traditional Leaders (the National House). Following the reconstitution of all Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders, the fifth National House will be reconstituting and electing its Leadership (Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson).
The reconstitution of the 5th National House is scheduled to take place on 09 November 2017. This reconstitution is an important milestone and this speaks to the significance of this institution. The Deputy Minister emphasised that government will continue supporting this important institution to continue to play a vital role in governance as part of strengthening democracy within the country.
The National House will be reconstituting in terms of Sections 8 and 9 of the National House of Traditional Leaders Act, 2009 (Act No 22 of 2009) (the Act), read with Paragraph 10 of the Rules and Orders of the House. The Members of the newly reconstituted House will be sworn in by the Deputy Judge President of North Gauteng High Court before assuming their office.
In terms of the Act, the proceedings have to be presided upon by the President of the Republic of South Africa or any person designated by him for this purpose. The President has thus delegated the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des van Rooyen to preside over the proceedings.
The reconstitution of the National House is an important milestone as it moves us towards meeting its mandate which amongst others:
- promote the role of traditional leadership within the constitutional dispensation;
- promote nation-building;
- promote peace, stability and cohesiveness of communities;
- develop, preserve and promote culture and traditions of communities; consider Parliamentary Bills referred to it by the Secretary;
- participate in intergovernmental structures and advise the national government and make recommendations on any matter that the government may require.
The reconstitution of the fifth National House of Traditional Leaders coincides with an important achievement, its twentieth anniversary. “We congratulate all traditional leaders for their contribution to the work of the House in the past two decades and urge closer collaboration going forward in an effort to strengthen and preserve this institution”, said Minister van Rooyen.
Within the above context, it is important to note that the House is established to:
- represent traditional leadership and their communities;
- advance the aspirations of the traditional leadership and their communities at national level;
- advance the plight of provincial houses of traditional leaders, traditional leadership and their communities at national government level;
- participate on international matters that have to do with custom, traditions and matters of common interest and influence government legislative processes at national level.
As a body comprising traditional leaders who are delegates from the Provincial Houses, the National House of Traditional Leaders has many important roles to play in the continuing development of this institution. The Minister further indicated that “The implementation of the resolutions of the Indaba of traditional Leaders held in June 2017, will be the main objective of this house for the next five years”
The house has a role to engage with partners and key stakeholders dealing with programmes that had an impact on traditional communities. It will adopt a strategic and annual performance plan and report quarterly and annually the progress on the implementation of its plans. In addition, the house participates in cultural, traditional and customary events to promote indigenous knowledge systems and heritage. Also the house participate and provide inputs into policies as well as bills developed by government such as Traditional Courts Bill, the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill and many more.
Judging by the ongoing discussions and debates around matters that relates to traditional leadership, the national house will have its hands full serving as a strategic platform that will discuss and find solutions, thus assisting to chart the way forward.
CoGTA Head of Communications
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