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President Ramaphosa officially opens the National House of Traditional Leaders

By Stella Sigcau

25 February 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially opened the National House of Traditional Leaders for 2020 at a colourful event that took place in parliament, Cape Town. The diversity of South African traditional communities was expressed through the traditional clothing that the attendees wore to showcase their diverse cultures. On arrival Ramaphosa was greeted by the Minister of COGTA Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders Nkosi Sipho Mahlangu.

(Photo by Siyabulela Duda/GCIS)

The event which was attended by various government representatives including Deputy Ministers and Traditional Leaders from various parts of South Africa commenced with a traditional praise singer rendering an item creating a vibrant atmosphere in the house.

In his speech President Ramaphosa acknowledged the role Traditional Leaders played throughout history and that the institution of traditional leadership has produced many heroes throughout the nation’s history. He emphasised the important role municipalities and traditional leaders are currently playing in driving development, especially in the rural areas.

In his speech he touched on various themes including land reform, rural tourism, mining, education. On mining he emphasised that mining houses have to have proper consultation mechanisms and appropriate agreements in place and must be able to show they are bringing sound community development programmes to the table.  Further, he stated that Traditional leaders are well-placed to ensure that the new mining charter is effectively implemented in their respective areas and that there is a commitment from all the relevant government departments to work closely with traditional leaders to make sure that mining contributes more directly to social and economic development.

On investment he urged that investment that is coming into South Africa must not only be concentrated in the metros but also in the municipalities where people need work, where they need facilities and where they need services.

On rural tourism he elaborated that rural South Africa presents abundant attractions for international tourists that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world and he promised that government will be working more closely with traditional leaders, rural communities and municipalities on tourism destination planning. He also touched on the importance of education and that government was looking to traditional leaders to assist in the huge task of achieving universal enrolment in early childhood development, which is particularly challenging in the rural areas. With regards to the ongoing succession disputes he stated that they continue to demean the institution of traditional leadership and that the Houses of Traditional Leaders, with the help of the Department of Traditional Affairs, is required to document all customary laws of succession and the genealogies of all traditional leadership in an effort to curb the number of traditional leadership disputes.

He re-iterated the importance of the empowerment of women and that they must not to be excluded on these developments and opportunities, as well as that young traditional leaders must also be capacitated to prepare them to be effective and efficient in leadership positions. On women he further strongly urged that their empowerment was critical to inclusive economic growth and that they should benefit on platforms like SheTradeZA which aims to connect women owned businesses throughout the world.

He concluded by quoting Mahatma Gandhi who once observed that a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.




February/March 2020








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