Premier Zamani Saul commended traditional leaders for “being a bridge between traditional communities and government”.
THE IMPORTANCE and continuous support of traditional leaders in matters of government was highlighted during the opening of the Northern Cape House of Traditional Leaders.
Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul officially opened the provincial House of Traditional Leaders in Kuruman yesterday.
Saul commended the traditional leadership for “being a bridge between traditional communities and government”.
“We find ourselves in unprecedented times and over the past year we have had to adjust and reprioritise our plans to actively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a fight that we could not face alone and therefore we needed to look at partners to make sure that we save lives and the livelihoods of the people of the Northern Cape. I am therefore grateful for the part that the institution of traditional leadership played, and continues to play, in supporting government,” said Saul.
“This we have seen through the dissemination of information relating to the Covid-19 safety protocols and communication on lockdown regulations.
“With donations we received from other partners, especially the mines operating in this area, we were able to make available personal protective equipment (PPE) and food parcels that were distributed to the vulnerable traditional communities. Your role in facilitating these interventions cannot go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated.”
Saul commended the house for ensuring that community members adhered to the Covid-19 regulations.
“We also want to express our gratitude to the provincial house for the manner in which it has supported government with matters pertaining to initiation schools during the lockdown. The practice remains prohibited under Level 1 lockdown regulations.
“We are keeping a watchful eye on this development nationally and will be in contact with you when the situation changes.”
He added, however, that much still needs to be done to combat the various social ills in communities.
“The provincial house remains a critical partner to government on issues such as gender-based violence, femicide and violence perpetrated against the LGBTQI+ community, the elderly and other vulnerable groups in society.
“We should therefore work together because the issues of gender-based violence and femicide require that we collectively conduct a public education campaign that confronts the persistence of patriarchal values and practices.
“We need to work closely to develop interventions that will promote gender equality. We should work to ensure women’s equitable representation in decision-making bodies in traditional communities and ensure that women are thoroughly consulted in the making of laws for customary communities.
“Similarly, we call on traditional leaders to strengthen our hand as we tackle the scourge of bullying and violence. It has no place in society and we condemn these acts in the strongest terms.”
Saul said one challenge his office has been faced with is disputes over traditional leadership positions and successions.
“Over the past few months we have been approached by several individuals on numerous occasions to resolve matters regarding traditional leadership. It cannot be correct that once disputes have been investigated and researched by the National Commission on Disputes and Claims on Traditional Leadership, and the government has accepted its recommendations, there are certain people visiting government offices raising the same disputes.”
Saul said that the rule of law must at all times be adhered to, adding that government cannot make any administrative intervention on findings of the commission once it has been endorsed.
“If people still feel aggrieved by the outcome of the commission, they should challenge the outcome through the high court.”
He also commended and welcomed the new Traditional Khoisan Leadership Act which came into effect earlier this month.
“This is a historic piece of legislation which, for the first time, grants statutory recognition to the Khoi and San people if they fulfil the set of criteria for qualification. This is a development that is long overdue and is an essential step in restoring the dignity and recognising the traditions and cultures of one of South Africa’s indigenous groups.”