Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Honorable Fikile Xasa, Mqwathi!
Honorable Members of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Thembisile Nkadimeng, Mpembe!
Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Parks Tau, Kwena!
Your Majesties and Royal Highnesses
Fellow Traditional Leaders
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, Kgosi Thabo Seatlholo, Rapulana!
Deputy Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, Nkosi Langa Mavuso. Ah! Zwelidumile, Bhele!
Members of the Executive of the National House of Traditional and Khoisan leaders
President of CONTRALESA, Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena,
Deputy President, Kgosi Nyalala Pilane,
Mr Cecil Le Fleur Chairperson of the National KhoiSan Council
Leadership of the National KhoiSan Council
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Members of the Media
It is my honour and privilege to support the Minister to present the Department of Traditional Affairs’ budget Vote, almost two months after joining the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) family.
In his inaugural State of the Nation Address speech, in May 1994, President Nelson Mandela stated that, I Quote “Tomorrow, on Africa Day, our new flag will be hoisted in an historic ceremony at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Headquarters in Addis Ababa, with the OAU having already agreed to accept us as its latest member. Yet tomorrow again, on Africa Day, the UN Security Council will meet to lift the last remaining sanctions against South Africa and to position the world Organisation to relate to our country as an honoured, responsible, and peace-loving citizen.” Unquote. The OAU in 2002 became the African Union (AU), in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
These words remind us of the worthy commitment that we as a people made 29 years ago at the birth of our country democracy, a commitment to usher in a country which all its people embodied the notion of a rainbow nation. Yesterday we celebrated the Africa Day, under the theme ‘Promoting and appreciating knowledge in and from Africa’.
Let me share some moments worth reminiscing about the month of May it was in 1996, that our country adopted the Constitution, it was in 1997 that the National Anthem was adopted. It is this constitution that postulates the mandate of the Department of Traditional Affairs, to oversee matters related to the institution, Section 211 affirms the recognition whilst Section 212 provides guidelines about the roles of Traditional Leaders. The White Paper on Traditional Leadership and Governance sets out a national framework, and the norms and standards that define the role of the institutions of traditional leadership in the country. The objects based on the support and the transformation of the institutions in accordance with constitutional imperatives and restore the integrity and legitimacy of traditional leadership in line with the African indigenous values and customs aligned to the Constitution.
To achieve our central goals, we have undertaken a process of consultation with the Kings, Senior Traditional Leaders, and The Institution in broad to appraise the institution on the work that the department is undertaking in the transformation of the institution. I am pleased to indicate that consultations on the process of establishing the King’s/ Queen’s Forum is underway and we should be able to launch this structure during the Heritage Month.
The Forum is intended be a voice for Kings and Queens. Just on 22 May 2023, the Ministry received a letter from the Interim Chairperson of the King’s/ Queen’s Forum, King Ndamase Ndamase, Ah Ndlovuyeswe!, requesting the Minister’s assistance to facilitate the convening of the Forum.
His Excellency President Ramaphosa, made a call during the opening of the National House early this year for the formation of the Kings Forum as a consultative structure to strengthen the functioning of institution, I quote the words of the President, “We see the Kings Forum as an important platform to tap into the collective wisdom of our Majesties. The Forum will help us to address disputes around traditional leadership, gender-based violence and other social ills, initiation challenges and others. The Forum will help us to document the history of our nation and the role of traditional leaders in our struggle and development as a nation.” Close-quote.
FELLOW TRADITIONAL LEADERS
Government is committed to ensuring that the practice of cultural initiation, remains an important customary right to passage that we pride ourselves as an institution.
The Customary Initiation Act, as signed into law by President Ramaphosa in 2021 , makes provision for the formation of the National Initiation Oversight Committee (NIOC) and the Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committee (PICC).
Honourable Members, as a caring government, unlike what was experienced here by our people in the Kannaland Municipality in Western Cape Province
who were exercising their right to practice their culture of initiation as a rite of passage and were denied to do so and had to invoke the court system to guarantee that right . The ANC led Government will not be doing the same. The National Initiation Oversight Committee (NIOC), which was appointed by the Minister of CoGTA, is here today in Cape Town and is meeting with the Western Cape Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committee to impress upon the Western Cape PICC to be ready for the winter initiation season, amongst others, to avoid the recurrence of the unfortunate and inhuman Kannaland experience.
Honourable Members, the NIOC has a five-year Strategic Plan, which its main intent is to oversee the implementation of the CIA. The main purpose of the Customary Initiation Act is to protect lives and prevent all forms of abuse that initiates may be subjected to as a result of unacceptable initiation practices. The Act also regulate initiation by providing for acceptable norms and standards.
Our work will continue to strengthen the regulatory environment and promote safe initiation practices. We will soon be developing the Customary Initiation Regulations, to address the challenge of commercialization of the customary initiation practice, which contributes to illegal initiation schools. As government we will advocate for the maximum sentence as proposed in the legislation that those that operate and profit from illegal school, as well as kidnaping of young boys, would be made a demonstratable example when they languish in jail. This is a promise Honorable Members the rule of law would be fully enforced without fear or favour.
ON LAND REFORM
The Communal Land Administration and Tenure Summit was held on 27 and 28 May 2022, the outcomes of the Summit are being processed through the Inter Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) that include working on policy alignment by the department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development for Cabinet processing.
It is worth reminding this House, that the first law to be passed by the first democratically elected parliament was the Restitution of Land Rights Act of 1994. This was done with the conscious acknowledgement that land justice is important to deal with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality. Madiba understood the importance of ensuring that land be returned to the dispossessed masses of our people.
He understood that land redistribution, restitution and security of tenure are important elements of the ‘covenant to build a society in which all South Africans, black and white, will be able to walk tall, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity’. The governing party in its 54th conference took a resolution to work with speed on all matters of land expropriation without compensation, in acknowledgement of land reform challenges including the slow pace and high land prices that have distorted the land market impeding speedy redress of land imbalances.
In his first State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa committed government to, Quote “Accelerate the land redistribution programme not only to address a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector”. Unquote. In this context he committed the government to “pursue a comprehensive strategy that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal” and that this strategy will include consideration of expropriation without compensation in line with the legislative provision.
Honourable Members, both the Communal Land Tenure Policy and Bill have been drafted and shall be processed through government structures and Cabinet for public comments in this 2023/24 Financial Year. That’s the ANC Government for you, we are finally getting closer to guaranteeing our people a security of tenure that is suitable for us as Africans.
On the Spatial Planning, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is in a process of identifying areas of amendment to Spatial Land Use and Management Act (SPLUMA). One of the areas under review is the role of the Institution of Traditional Leaders in Land Development Processes. The Institution is being engaged through identified structures to provide input on proposals to address identified challenges. The Department has met with National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders ( NHTKL ) in February 2023 to discuss how to work together on the amendment of SPLUMA.
Provincial meetings are being held with the Provincial Houses , meetings were held in EC, NW, FS and NC to discuss draft amendments. Through this Process, honourable members, Traditional Leaders are definitely going to participate actively in the land planning and administration processes, they wont be excluded and their views will be part of the land planning and administration decisions for socio economic development and governance in Districts and metros with traditional leadership. With this process, their communities are guaranteed sustainable livelihoods, expanding grazing, residential, industrial and other amenities. This is the ANC government.
With regards to the expropriation bill, Traditional Leaders of Limpopo participated in the public hearings in Capricon, Waterberg, Sekhukhune, Mopani ad Vhembe from the 16th to the 23rd of May 2023.
This is yet another demonstration of the ANC led Government that we intend to return the land to its rightful owners. We will soon be having Expropriation of Land as an Act of Parliament.
A very clear submission by the National House was that expropriation will exclude the current communal land and instead, it will expand communal land to decongest areas of Amakhosi. Siyaqhuba, Siyasebenza. It is ANC at work.
COMMISSION ON KHOISAN MATTERS
In terms of the TKLA the Commission is assigned to receive applications for the recognition from the KhoiSan communities, to date the Commission has received over 103 applications and the work is underway to meet the deadline of 31st August 2026. To improve proficiencies in the Commission programme we have committed to strengthen the staff capacity of anthropologist additional researchers to ensure that we align with the mandate and the term of the Commission. To be certain that there is easy access to information relating to the application process and guidance a toll-free line has been established for the applicants and members of the KhoiSan communities in general.
This will include consideration of a suitable operating model, a redesign of the claims process to reduce the unnecessary bureaucracy to fast track the claims.
The process to assess and authenticate application by the public is through provincial meetings that are being held with the Provincial Houses and to date meetings were held in EC, NW, FS and NC to discuss draft amendments. The Commission will conclude its work by making recommendations to the Minister on the possible recognition of KhoiSan communities and leaders.
This recognition of the KhoiSan Communities would be insignificant without the practice of their languages, working together with the Departments of Sports , Arts and Culture and Justice and Constitutional Development . We will work towards proposing a Bill looking at the 19th Constitutional amendment to make KhoiSan language the 13th official language of the country. In terms of Section 6 of the Constitution, there are twelve official languages the South Africa Sign Language, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, and IsiZulu.
We welcome the recent National Assembly endorsement of the amendment to include South African Sign Language (SASL) as an official language, this is a huge milestone to promote the rights of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.
It is hoped that by including the KhoiSan language as an official language, it would be an enabler that the language is practiced and does not diminish over time, it will include the promotion, inclusivity and equality, to prevent discrimination and their culture.
RURAL INVEST AND AGARIAN REVOLUTION
I am pleased to announce a collaboration on advancement of Rural communities’ economic growth through the utilization of land to promote and create conducive conditions for investment with the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The groundwork cooperation discussions with the Embassy have already begun in full swing, and later this year South Africa will host the 6th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) between the two countries. I will be leading a committee of Deputy Ministers of Agriculture and Land Reform, Trade and Industry, Communications and Digital Technologies, Tourism, Arts and Culture and International Relations.
The Minister of Social Development has showed interest in the process as it will culminate in fighting poverty and ending hunger, in the main the attraction being Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) which is one of the world’s leading NPOs with a mission to empower people and communities out of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice and we can certainly take a leaf from this work.
This will culminate towards the expansion of socio-economic, agricultural and economic development for effective utilization of fallow land. The cooperation will in addition include sectors such as tourism, the textile industry, information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals and defence, the implementation model would be suitable to the conditions of our countries dynamics.
Further more Honorable Members, my recent engagement with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affair (UNDESA) has resulted in the institution pledging to provide technical assistance, project scoping to work in partnership with both government and the KhoiSan communities.
Honourable Members, the work of the Commission and the entire recognition process, is potentially going to bring about a Provincial House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders in the Western Cape Province. This significant development will see the participation of our Khoi-San communities and leaders in socio economic development and governance and thereby improving their lives and livelihoods. We are bringing change to the Khoi-San people in the Western Cape as the ANC led Government.
As an update, I am pleased to indicate that the Traditional Courts Bill has undergone all the necessary parliamentary processes and is now before the President for assent.
This Bill will soon be an act and it will afford South Africans to enjoy the justice system of their forebears, the restorative justice that is uniting and contributing to social cohesion and nation building. This is the ANC government in action.
IN CONCLUSION, HOUSE CHAIRPERSON
The Department will continue coordinating all relevant government departments to actively participate in the Agrarian Revolution Programme, which will be driven at district level to ensure that socio-economic development is realised, and people’s lives are improved.
The position by traditional leaders to adopt the developmental monarch approach is a progressive move as it requires traditional leaders to lead in socio-economic and developmental working approach. Through this approach it is our belief that the institution of traditional leadership will certainly have impact in changing the lives of our rural communities.
The president during the opening of the National House, directed that the Invest Rural Masterplan should be adopted by Cabinet, to ensure that this blueprint deepen socio-economic development in rural communities. Working together as the COGTA family, we will be implementing the 2022, Local Government Summit resolution to deepen consultation with municipalities as well as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to familiarize the provision of the Rural Invest Master plan to find expression in the local government planning cycle.
We request that the Honourable members support this Budget Votes as it will contribute towards the eradication of hunger, poverty, unemployment, and inequality, in the Rural communities. It is our hope that our plans and collaborative initiatives will bear fruits to make rural areas economically viable and safer for all our people, especially vulnerable women, youth and children.
I wish to extend words of appreciation to the Minister of COGTA Ms Themb Nkadimeng, Mpembe! The Deputy Minister Mr Parks Tau, Kwena! As the Troika of COGTA, we are determined to bring visible change in the Local Government sphere and ensure that the Institution of Traditional Leadership is developed. I wish to thank the leadership of the National House, The Commissioners on KhoiSan Matters and SALGA. The staff in my office and officials in the Department lead by the Director General, that we still have significant work to achieve in servicing the sector.
The mandate is clear, we are going to work and surely it will not be ‘Business as Usual’ as contribute towards the development of the sector. Lastly my sincere gratitude to His Excellency Deputy President Mashatile who has started to walk with us in ensuring that all matters of Traditional Leaders are attended to.
-I Thank You-