Chairperson of the Select Committee on COGTA , Honourable Thamsanqa Dodovu
Members of the Select Committee on COGTA
Members of the Provincial Executive Committees
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Thembi Nkadimeng
Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Parks Tau
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San leaders
Chairperson of the Municipal Demarcation Board and its members
President of the South African Local Government Association
Directors General, Mr M Diphofa and Mr M Tshangana
Acting CEO of MISA, Ms P Kgomo
Fellow South Africans
Ladies and Gentlemen
Mgcini Sihlalo mandizek’emzekweni ndizayamanise nembeko esele ingqithisewe ngumaMpembe umphathiswa wesebe ngokubekekileyo. Ndikhahlela kwakho kwiKumkani zonke zezwe lakowethu ! Xa ndisenza njalo onke amaphakathi ndifikelele kuwo kwizwelonke jikelele.
Mandiqale ndithathe elithuba nam ndidlulise amazwi ovelwano njenge sizwe kusapho luka Mama u Tina Joemat Pietterson. Wena kufa ulitshaba ndiyakuzonda , umyalezo kusapho lwakhe lonke ingakumbi abantwana. Yanga inkosi inganani kwelixesha lesisehlo ninjongane naso. Kwaye yazini sonke isizwe silila nani ibilithandazwe u Mama wenu. Wanga umphefumlo wakhe ungaphumla ngoxolo.
Program Director its my honour and privilege to support the Minister in presenting the Department of Traditional Affairs budget vote. We are presenting this budget vote during the youth month with high expectations from the young royals of our country. Now is the time for the young royals to occupy their rightful places on issues of traditional affairs in all Provinces. As appreciation of the Young Royals the department has developed a program for the youth month with specific focus on Young Royals. The program will kick start in KwaZulu Natal with an Imbizo / Gala Dinner in partnership with the Presidency, Department of Social Development and Department of Arts, Sports & Culture.
Kings and Queens Forum
In its pursuit of collaborative working relations with the institution of traditional and khoi-san leadership, government has found it necessary to facilitate the establishment of a Kings and Queens Forum. Our Kings and Queens are the highest echelon in the hierarchy of traditional and khoi-san leadership in the country, and it is necessary for them to have a platform through which they engage among themselves as well as to engage with other role-players such as government.
As His Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa indicated on the occasion of the Annual Official Opening of the National and Khoi-san Leaders in February this year, “we see the Forum as an important platform to tap into the collective wisdom of our Majesties.” We are committed to making the establishment of this Forum a reality, and we are pleased that the Interim Chairperson of the Forum, uKumkani Ndamase Ndamase, Ndlovuyezwe! is already engaging with us to facilitate the convening of the Forum. The Forum first session will be convened before the end of September 2023.
Promoting safe customary initiation practices
The Customary initiation practice is an important cultural practice in our communities and is a rite of passage which we are proud of. Unfortunately, we have over the years seen this practice being associated with outcomes that are actually foreign to our culture.
These include initiation deaths, amputations, kidnappings of initiates and illegal customary initiation schools. An important piece of legislation to address these challenges is the Customary Initiation Act (Act No. 2 of 2021).
Among others, the Act provides for the establishment of a National Initiation Oversight Committee (NIOC). The Committee is a national statutory structure tasked with the responsibility of overseeing and monitoring the implementation of the Act and initiation practices in general. As required by the Act, the Minister of Cogta has already duly established the National Initiation Oversight Committee which is Chaired by Inkosi Mahlangu, Ndzundza!
The Act also provides for the establishment of Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committees (PICCs) for each province. The PICCs are charged with the responsibility of implementing the Act at provincial level with their core mandate being to address customary initiation challenges within their provinces and ensuring that all registered initiation schools in their provinces are legally compliant.
Our information indicates that to date only six provinces have established their PICCS for the term ending 31 May 2027. These are Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Western Cape. We call upon the remaining three provinces, that is North West , Northern Cape and KwaZulu Natal to establish their PICCs as a matter of urgency so as to achieve government goal of zero initiation deaths, zero injuries, zero illegal initiation schools and to root out criminal activities performed in the name of the practice.
The challenges experienced by the customary initiation sector require collective wisdom. I am pleased to announce that the NIOC, working together with the Ministry, relevant Provincial Governments, PICCs, the National and Provincial Houses, our traditional leaders and community structures will be conducting customary initiation awareness campaigns. The focus of the campaign will be on communities where the practice take place to educate members of the public and relevant communities about the Customary Initiation Act.
We call upon all stakeholders to join hands in this campaign to achieve an incident free winter and summer initiation seasons. I would specifically like to appeal to the PICC in the Western Cape to ensure that working together with the provincial Department of Cultural affairs and Sport, amaXhosa, AmaHlubi and BaSotho who currently practice customary initiation in this province are not only allowed but are also supported to practice and participate in this rite of passage without hindrance. Into esiyibone isenzeka apha eNtshona Kapa yokuthintela isiko lolwaluka ingaphinde yenzeke kuba bantu baye bozihlangula kwinkundla zamatyala. Funeka kunikwe izixhobo zokuncedisana nolwaluko abantwana begazi ukwenzela ukuba kulandelwe inkqubo efanayo kuzo zonke indawo.
Persistent traditional leadership succession disputes are a main contributor to instability within royal families and communities. To date, the Department of Traditional Affairs assisted 11 royal families across all levels of traditional leadership to document their customary laws of succession and genealogies to address the issue of leadership succession disputes as follows: Northern Cape Province (2); Limpopo Province (2); Mpumalanga Province (2); Gauteng Province (1); Eastern Cape Province (2); KwaZulu-Natal (2). The Customary laws of succession and genealogies have proved to be an effective intervention for royal families during the identification of successors.
Due to the value of the customary laws of succession and genealogies to the royal families in addressing their leadership succession disputes, there have been many requests from royal families across all levels of traditional leadership for the Department to assist them with the documentation of their customary laws of succession and genealogies.
As a government that listens, we have responded to this call and we continue to assist royal families. In this regard, the Department further developed step-by step Guidelines for royal families on the development of customary laws of succession and genealogies and is currently rolling out capacity building workshops on the Guidelines starting with the National, Provincial and Local Houses. It should also be mentioned that this initiative has been welcomed and greatly appreciated by the sector, across all levels of traditional leadership.
To strengthen the regulatory environment in this area, we will be finalising and publishing regulations as part of implementation of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act , in so doing we have to take into cognisance of the recent Constitutional Court Judgement. (I believe we need to add a sentence about the action to be taken as a result of the judgement, just so we don’t leave the statement about the ruling incomplete. We could say: Parliament will offcourse attend to the Concourt Judgement and we anticipate that a process will be put in place to respond to the issues raised.
The Traditional Leadership Indaba that took place in June 2017 resolved, among others, that a Communal Land Administration and Tenure Summit be held to address critical policy issues impacting on communal land. The long-awaited Summit took place on 27 and 28 May 2022, at Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg. The outcomes of the Summit are currently being processed through the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform. In the meantime, the Communal Land Tenure Policy shall be processed through government structures and Cabinet for public comments.
On the Spatial Planning, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has identified areas of amendment to the 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, and such consultations have already taken place in the Eastern Cape, North West, Free State and the Northern Cape.
Similarly, and arising from the above Land Summit, the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development has commenced with an audit of the Communal Property Associations Act and the purpose is to get a better understanding of the real challenges surrounding the CPAs in order to come up with proposals for improvements and to inform possible amendments to the Act.
Commission on Khoi-San Matters
The TKLA provides for the establishment of the Commission on Khoi-san Matters to receive applications for the recognition of Khoi-san leaders and communities. To date the Commission has received over 103 applications for recognition, and work is underway to process them. In order to ensure that the applications provide all the necessary information, the Commission embarked on physical meetings with the applicants. We look forward to this process being finalized so that, before long, we have recognised khoi-San communities and leaders who will in turn constitute to join traditional leaders in the National, provincial and Local Houses of Traditional and Khoi-san Leaders. Out of this process, the Western Cape will be required to establish their Provincial House as well.
In response to some of their concerns, a meeting was convened with the Commission with regard a number of challenges they are facing in pursuing their mandate. There is a planned workshop before the End of the Month to deal with challenges faced by the Commission on Khoi-San.
Invest Rural Masterplan
I am pleased to announce that we are already taking steps to facilitate the implementation of the Invest Rural Masterplan developed by the NHTKL. In this regard we are working on 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.
To take this work forward I will be part of a committee of Deputy Ministers of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Trade Industry and Competition, Communications and Digital Technologies, Tourism, Sports Arts and Culture and International Relations and Cooperation.
To ensure that traditional leaders and councils are capacitated to carry out their legislated mandates, I had a meeting with the Chairperson of National Lotteries Commission who has expressed a desire to provide support especially for the rural areas. Our engagements will be taken into consideration in their Strategic Planning Session, that will include the refinement of the existing MOU with NHTKL.
The department will ensure that the existing MOU is implemented and is focusing on strategic programs and projects that will take forward the Kingdoms as primary targets. Furthermore, we are pleased that the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affair (UNDESA) has pledged to provide technical assistance to work in partnership with both government and the Khoi-San communities.
IN CONCLUSION , HOUSE CHAIRPERSON
The Department will continue coordinating all relevant departments and Provinces to actively participate in the Agrarian Revolution Programme , which will be driven at district level in the context of District Development Model to ensure that socio-economic development is realised and people’s lives are improved. It is our belief that the institution of traditional leadership will certainly have impact in changing the lives of our rural communities.
We dare not fail our people.