DTA Deputy Minister Obed Bapela

Deputy Minister Bapela at the Mpumalanga Traditional Affairs Indaba

Address by Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, MP Mpumalanga Traditional Affairs Indaba 8 July 2016

I am grateful by this opportunity once more to address Traditional Leaders from this province today, let me reflect for a moment since the last summit in October 2014, at Sabie Florest Lodge in Nelspruit.

In giving strength to the department and alignment to the NDP goals, our strategic focus would be outlined in the following Five-Point Plan: (Five Pillars)

I.    Building Sustainable Institution of Traditional Leadership and resolving all outstanding disputes, to stabilize and strengthen the Institution.
II.    Protecting, Preserving and Promoting the African Cultural and Traditional and Customary way of life.
III.    Transforming the Traditional Institution, Reviewing and Adapting    of Policies, Legislation and Regulations in the democratic dispensation.
IV.    Revival and promotion of the Socio-Economic activation to achieve a better life for people in Cities, Towns, Rural, and Traditional Communities.
V.    Coordination of Interfaith to Promote Social Cohesion and Nation Building.

MEC and the Chairperson I recall the challenge I gave to the traditional leaders about growing the Golden Economy in the province, to focus your attention on the richness of the province cultural heritage. With a clear plan of how the arts and crafts can be maximized to improve livelihoods.

This Indaba is being held under the theme “Enhancing Sustainable Development in Rural Communities” focusing on issues affecting traditional leadership.

Traditional leaders are important stakeholders in the development within their communities. The Indaba will amongst others have deliberated issues of land and development, role of traditional leaders in local economic development, inter-governmental relation with all spheres of government and including the initiation strategy.

Government remains committed to strengthen the institution of traditional leadership. Traditional leaders are key in advising government in the development of policies and legislations that have impact on rural communities.
The Indaba I understand also addressed challenges associated with the functionality of traditional leaders’ financial management and proper accounting systems.

The government’s has a renewed focus on rural development, there has been special attention paid to matters of communal land rights in traditional areas, which are considered crucial in facilitating rural development and integrated development in our municipalities.

My department has informed me that Rural Development and Land Reform Department has conducted roadshows across the country to consult on rural economic development programmes, doing workshops on Farm Equity Schemes, (FES) Land Redistribution and Agricultural Development (LRAD), Settlement Land Acquisition Grant (SLAG), Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS) and Restitution.

The land reform policy is underpinned by three principles, namely; the deracialisation of the rural economy for sustainable growth; equitable and democratic land redistribution across race, gender and colour; and production discipline for sustainable food security.
Land Reform is part of an effort by the government to undermine and defeat the legacy of apartheid legacy. We are all well aware that the President has been consistently calling for a united front from traditional leaders in claiming land as a collective force.

Clearly, it is impossible to achieve all this without the full participation, as an integral and responsible component part of our system of governance, of an institution of traditional leadership that is strong, sufficiently resourced and has the necessary capacity to discharge its mandate, an institution that works for development in partnership with the rest of government, civil society and communities; an institution that relentlessly promotes the values of Ubuntu, and in every way helps to deepen our democracy and expand the access of our people to its benefits.

I take this opportunity to report back on the plans and exciting programmes that I presented last time when I addressed this gathering;

•  The Royalty Awards plans are at an advance stage and we would be partnering with the Motsepe Foundation to recognize excellence of work in the traditional communities with various categories.

•  The utilization of television to communicate the programme of the department I appeared in Movhango and if you have seen in the last few day the story line is around initiation, I was scheduled to appear again but because the department did not meet the financial requirements we were left out of the show.

I am expressing my sincere gratitude that this Province through the Ingoma Forum has been doing commendable work on matters of Initiation, I am however waiting upon you to provide me and the Minister with the state of readiness for 2017 Initiation Season, as we are expecting to see more than forty thousand young man going through the right passage to adulthood.

The traditional leaders national Indaba will be held around November this year to allow for a collective views and engagement and key proposal to be formulated amongst the most complex discussion are the following:

a.    The Land question with claims open up until 2019, the big questions is what we do after we have claimed the land back.

b.    African way of life still has practices, which are not consistent to the provision of the constitution, mainly discrimination against women and children’s. We need to consider which of those practices, which are still relevant.

c.    With minerals discovered on land under traditional leaders, how can it be used to benefit people and traditional leadership, the good example is the Royal Bafokeng and Kgosi Pilane.

d.    With urbanization rapidly expanding not only in small towns, cities, and even in traditional communities, how is the impact on the governance and adherence to the rules concerning way of life.

e.    The big question that land does not grow if you sell it then it is gone, should traditional leaders sell land or should they lease it. The British have one of the best models.

f.    The language use is under treat not growing or developing, the question is what course of action to take.

g.    Should senior traditional leaders not be called Royals Highness and the institution to be developed towards Royalty?

h.    How is SPLUMA, IUDF and the new lending bill giving rights to family ownership and title deeds be handled and used to give respect and dignity to traditional leaders.

i.    How are we promoting our cultural values and traditional practices?

In our journey to transform and advance the institution of traditional leaders, by working towards achieving our mandate as per the constitution and the relevant legislative framework, how do we incorporate modernity?

Our commitment to work together with the traditional leaders through the Provincial House to booster this institution in the modern democracy.

In the next two months we would be celebrating the heritage month as the house the question is what programmes we have put in place to as we ponder about how do we ensure that each day is heritage day.

It is important that as we move towards 2015 we should take each day this means each day should be filled with programmes and activities geared towards us celebrating fully our Heritage as we advance the institution.

Hon MEC:

Since crafts are an aspect of culture, in this way as we celebrate our culture as South Africans, a culture steeped in our collective experiences and peculiar conditions that instill in us with our character as a people, and a nation. That when we celebrate our Heritage in itself is a symbolic expression of how far we have come in our history.
Our crafts constitute a foundation upon which we are building social cohesion in society, brick by brick, aware that through crafts and related aspects of our culture, we are able to supersede our difference, defined by this universal appeal of our crafts, our culture.
Crafts speak a universal language and are appreciated across class, gender, race, and all other social barriers that keep us apart. We should therefore be mindful of and appreciate these powers of crafts to transcend artificial barriers and contribute towards the building of a truly united society.
The focus on craft as part of the golden economy to achieve social cohesion and unity in diversity.
•To showcase the contribution of crafts to economic development of the province.

•    Promote the use of indigenous knowledge to design and production.

•    Create an environment for the promotion of South Africa’s cultural expressions in South Africa and internationally

•    Demonstrate the potential and role of crafts in alleviating poverty, job creation, and forging of a national identity.

•    Forge cohesion among crafters and other stakeholders.

I recently spotted a popular sneaker brand with an Ndebele design these are international brands, and revenue is generated through payment of royalties. Gogo Ester Mahlangu is best known as a Ndebele painter and bead artist and for her particular Ndebele design in 1991 of a  that BMW 525.


Furthermore we would be as the Department of Traditional be engaging in a series of Roadshows and outreach programme as part of consultation as we rejuvenate the sector.

As traditional leaders, we have a lot of respect and influence on our community members. People look up to us for solutions to different challenges they might face.

On behalf of the department we wish to extend our gratitude for the deliberations and discussions during the Provincial Indaba and let us all build this institution.

Siyathokoza… Ngiyabonga