Home South African PP’s report exposes cracks in relationship between traditional leaders and local government

PP’s report exposes cracks in relationship between traditional leaders and local government

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“It was gathered that one of the contributing factors hampering service delivery was the apparent strained relations between traditional leadership and local government“

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Screengrab/African News Agency (ANA)

A REPORT by the public protector has given insight into ongoing tensions between traditional leadership and local government in at least seven provinces across the country, including the Northern Cape, and the impact this has had on communities.

The report has further absolved some of the provincial offices of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) of failing to promote partnerships between district municipalities and kingship or queenship councils in terms of the Traditional Leaders Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003 and put measures in place to support and strengthen traditional councils to fulfil their functions.

The report also found that it was not true that the department failed to provide information to traditional leaders and councils on their assigned roles and functions; provide information to traditional leaders and councils on the Provincial Gazette which regulates their participation in proceedings of a municipal council and prescribes their role in the affairs of a municipality; and provide traditional leaders and councils with information on their funding, resourcing and remuneration.

The report stems from an investigation launched following countrywide public hearings that were conducted in 2017.

The common issue raised in hearings in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West was that of the public’s dissatisfaction with service delivery.

“It was gathered that one of the contributing factors hampering service delivery was the apparent strained relations between traditional leadership and local government,” the report found.

The public protector held further hearings with stakeholders across the country, and traditional leaders were afforded an opportunity to interact with the office, with a view to providing them with a platform to voice matters of concern.

The report found that only the Free State and Mpumalanga departments demonstrated the establishment of partnerships while all other provinces did not establish such partnerships.

In fact, it was the provincial departments that failed to put measures in place to support and strengthen traditional councils to fulfil their functions.

It was also found that there was a lack of service delivery agreements between municipalities and traditional councils.

Meanwhile, only the KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga provincial departments provided information to the traditional leaders and councils on their assigned roles and functions in terms of Section 20 of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (TLGFA).

All the provinces except for Mpumalanga responded to and addressed all the allegations made by their provincial traditional leaders.

Cogta MECs in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KZN, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West, supported by the director-general of the national department, were directed to table it, within 90 days from the date of receipt of the public protector’s report, at their respective provincial executive council meetings to discuss, among other things, its findings and the implementation of the remedial action therein.

The MECs have to put in place measures to promote partnerships between municipalities and traditional councils and provide information to traditional leaders and councils on their assigned roles and functions in terms of Section 20 of the TLGFA.