Address by the Honourable Premier R.M. Mtshweni-Tsipane on the occasion of the opening of the Mpumalanga Provincial House of Traditional Leaders
03 May 2022Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, Inkhosi S.G. Ngomane;
Your Majesties, Ingwenyama Makhosoke Ii and Ingwenyama Mabhoko Iii in absentia;
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, Inkosikazi Nomandla Mhlawuli;
Deputy Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders Kgosi Thabo Milton Seathlolo;
President of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, Kgoshi Lameck Mokoena;
Deputy Chairperson of the Provincial House, Ikosi C.M. Mahlangu;
MEC for COGTA, Honourable B.P. Shiba and Members of the Executive Council present;
Members of the Provincial Legislature in our midst;
Executive Members Of The Provincial House And Chairpersons Of The Local Houses;
Our esteemed Traditional Leaders, Amakhosi/Magoshi;
Abo-Ndlunkhulu and Izinduna;
Director-General of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government Mr. Makhukhu Mampuru;
Senior Management of the Department of COGTA, led by the Head of the Department, Mr. Sam Ngubane;
Compatriots and fellow citizens,
- Chairperson, we are still struggling to come to terms with the passing on of Amakhosi, who served this House and their communities with distinction. When we gathered to open the Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders, we were blissfully unaware that our journey with them was nearing its conclusion.
- As we gather today to mark the annual opening of the Mpumalanga House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, we are reminded of their indomitable legacies.
- Indeed, without Ikosi SE Mahlangu of the Ndzundza-Mabusa Traditional Council, Inkhosi KJ Malaza of the Mandlamakhulu TC, Hosi ML Nkuna of the Hoxane TC, we are poorer. We are convinced that through their servitude, they left more than enough to last us for a long time. In their honour, I request that the House observes a moment of silence in their honour! (Umoya wabo ulale ngokuthula. Siyathokoza).
- Chairperson, we are gradually returning to life as we knew it, following the trail of devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mpumalanga Province, like the rest of the country, was not spared of the harrowing experience of people losing their lives and livelihoods. Hope is what was left in us, and that hope is what has driven us to where we are right now.
- The recent announcement by the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, which included the upliftment of the COVID-19 restrictions, and heralded the end of the National State of Disaster declared in 2020, signalled the end of the road we have travelled thus far together in the fight against the pandemic.
- The announcement proved that the steps undertaken by government, including cancellation of cultural ceremonies, the temporary suspension of the ingoma practice, and the strict monitoring of adherence to COVID-19 protocols for burials and other traditional activities were not in vain.
- Through working with government, the pivotal role played by the institution of Traditional Leadership spared the Province from the full brutality and destruction of humanity, by the pandemic. We will forever be grateful to you bo-Ndabezitha, for the sterling work in uniting our communities against the enemy that was COVID-19.
- Lest we forget, the pandemic is still prevalent, and therefore we must never let our guards down. We depend on you in the programmes of encouraging communities to vaccinate, and to continue with adherence to the safety protocols. Sizoyinqoba lengogwana le!
- The rates of infections is under constant microscopic monitoring and we have seen gradual progression towards managing and living with Covid-19. We have also resumed the practice of ingoma under strict medical conditions. Through my participation in the Presidential Coordinating Council, I am certain that we will be able to resume our traditional ceremonies such as ummemo by the end of this month.
- Chairperson, it is my singular honour to inform the august House about the recognition of the following Senior Traditional Leaders, recently. They are:
- Kgoshi S Chiloane of the Moletele Traditional Council;
- Ikosi T Mabena of the Manala Mbongo Traditional Council;
- Inkhosi R Nkosi of the Ebutsini Traditional Council; and
- Inkhosi S Mnisi of the Mantjolo Traditional Council;
- Their recognition is in terms of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act 3 of 2019, following a submission made by the royal families in accordance with their customary law of succession. In the weeks ahead, we will be recognizing more Traditional Leaders in accordance with the spirit, purport and objectives of sections 211 and 212 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
- I must emphasize that government does not appoint Amakhosi, as this is a privilege reserved for the Inner Royal House. The certificate of recognition, that we issue, should not be misconstrued as the authority to appoint but as an avenue through which the decision of the Inner Royal House is given effect.
- As such, we commit ourselves to continue to work with all Amakhosi designated that status by inner royal families across our province.
- Chairperson, following our extensive deliberations with both the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson on how we may augment our support to the Traditional Leaders, I have decided that from the 2023/24 financial year, we will increase our support for Ingwenyama from R400 000 to R1 000 000 per annum. This translates into an increase of around 150%.
- As part of our Support for senior Traditional Leaders, we will also increase the administrative grant from R300 000 to R350 000 per annum.
- I am particularly elated that the current Executive of the House has taken an initiative to hold discussions with our Hon Speaker of the Provincial Legislature, Madam Makhosazane Masilela, in an effort to find ways to work closely as oversight bodies.
- I have been informed that the Speaker of Provincial Legislature, welcomed the discussions and would seek to have joint programmes in strengthening oversight and accountability of our sector departments with the Provincial House of Traditional and KHOISAN Leaders.
- The Provincial Government welcomes all efforts that seek to improve on our delivery of services irrespective of what sector is involved and that we would provide all support required to. Make this noble initiation a success.
- COGTA must pave a way for this Programme to take shape and to provide resources necessary to enable proper functionality to this end. We will be willing to provide such necessary training and development programmes to equip the House to deal with these aspects effectively.
- Chairperson, as we mark the last stretch of the last mile of the current term of the Executive of both the Provincial and Local Houses of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders in Mpumalanga, it will be remiss of me to not express my gratitude to the esteemed members of the Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders.
- We were awestruck by your dedication and commitment to serve the community with such distinction and integrity. Your advice on cultural matters and development, for areas within the jurisdiction of traditional leadership, has enriched us. It is during your tenure that we fought together the pandemic and saved lives as I have indicated earlier.
- Words will never be enough to thank you for your selfless and exemplary leadership. As you prepare to hand over the baton to the new leadership, I am certain that a road map has been developed for a seamless handover of the new Executive from the 1st of June 2022.
- In preparation for the election of the new Executive, we have already conducted workshops in all 3 Districts to equip Local Houses in anticipation of the imminent elections.
- We must always remember that the Executive of the Mpumalanga House of Traditional leaders carry the hopes and dreams of our communities in rural areas, especially during this era, characterized by unfavourable socio-economic conditions.
- We remain resolute in our commitment to work with bo-Ndabezitha, and this will be our approach in the interactions with the Executive.
- Chairperson, in this current financial year, the Provincial Government, through COGTA, shall renovate 8 critical Traditional Councils offices, whilst 12 new offices will be constructed. In addition 25 offices shall be attended to in the outer years for the next three years.
- This will be amongst the many projects that will mark our support and strategic collaboration with the Institution of Traditional Leadership.
- Our supportive measures recognize the deep seated challenges that are sophisticated, which require advanced methods of technology to resolve.
- When COGTA provided tools of trade in the form of desktop computers and printers, in the previous financial year, it was responding to these sophisticated challenges. All Traditional Councils, including the offices of the two Izingwenyama, were provided with this ICT support.
- This ICT infrastructure enhances the ability of Traditional Council offices to provide services in the most rural of surroundings.
- Chairperson, the establishment of the Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committee (PICC), is a major decisive step we have undertaken as Mpumalanga Province, to prevent fatalities during the practice of Ingoma. The Committee will perform its duties in compliant as per the requirement of the Customary Initiation Act No 2. of 2021.
- I am happy to announce and congratulate Inkhosi MR Mbuyane, for his election as the Chairperson and Kgoshigadi AS Mohlala, who has been elected as the Deputy Chairperson of the PICC. The Committee will be seized with oversight and monitoring responsibilities, including all relevant structures that practice ingoma.
- There will be awareness campaigns and training workshops to traditional and Khoi-San structures leadership and government officials, in accordance with section 15 of the Customary Initiation Act no. 2 of 2021.
- Over and above, they will collaborate with local structures established within the districts where ingoma is practiced, specifically the Ingoma Administrative Task Team in the Nkangala District.
- In consultation with all Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership, the PICC will create a database for all legal initiation schools in the Mpumalanga Province.
- These efforts will help curb fatalities during the initiation period. Sadly we are informed about the eight (8) fatalities recorded thus far.
- The PICC and the Task team established to monitor the proceedings during Ingoma are busy on the ground to tighten monitoring for compliance.
- COGTA is putting together an action plan in collaboration with the Department of Health to allocate more resources to curb any potential escalation of ingoma fatalities.
- We urge on all ingoma initiation schools to work with government in ensuring safe passage of our ingoma initiates. One life lost is one too many that we cannot afford.
- Chairperson, I wish to congratulate one of our own, Ikosi VW Mahlangu, who has been elected Chairperson of the National initiation Oversight Committee. His election puts Mpumalanga front and centre of national initiatives aimed at reducing and ultimately preventing ingoma related fatalities.
- Chairperson, one of the major tasks we will be paying attention to, during this period under review is the reconstitution of Traditional Councils. Section 63(4) of the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act states that all tribal authorities and traditional councils must be reconstituted within two years from the commencement of the Act.
- We are required to conclude this mammoth task by the 31st of March 2023, in accordance with the provisions of Sections 16 (2) and (5) of the Act. This legislation calls for the selection and election of members of respective communities to serve in the Traditional Councils.
- For a free and fair process, a neutral body must be appointed to steer the election process. Following consultation with all stakeholders, a mechanism for maintaining peace and stability in traditional communities, a section in the new legislation of establishing investigative committees, has been incorporated.
- This will help to timeously resolve disagreements over culture and customs as espoused in the constitution.
- Chairperson, our country has entered a new developmental phase, embedded on a 1 plan at the level of the Districts, through the District Development Model (DDM), introduced by His Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019. The DDM creates an opportunity of collaboration with Traditional Leaders and all sectors of the society, for the successful delivery of services to our people.
- Bo-Ndabezitha, I am encouraged by your participation in the DDM council meetings. Your voice brings the perspective of the authority of the section of our society with an intimate understanding of the rural landscape and assists us in determining viable strategies to follow to eradicate bottlenecks and expedite the delivery of services. PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
- Bo-Ndabezitha, we envisage good results in the business ventures that will be established in your areas. The Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act, 3 of 2019, now protects traditional communities from such ventures. It makes it mandatory for traditional councils to enter into written partnerships or agreements that benefit the community.
- The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Mpumalanga House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, with the goal of establishing and maintaining areas of collaboration between the two parties, demonstrates that we are getting closer to where we want to be.
- The MoU is in line with the entities' respective legislative mandates, particularly in the fields of finance, tourism and nature conservation management.
- Both parties acknowledge that the tourism industry has the potential to drive significant economic growth and development in the province as well as increase participation in the tourism and nature conservation sectors of previously disadvantaged individuals and communities.
- Chairperson, land invasion remains a major impasse towards the full implementation of the agrarian revolution. It perpetuates poverty, inequality and unemployment. Once again, I urge you, as our leaders, to work closely with municipalities on land administration. We need to administer it in a manner that our future generations will have both space for settlement and development.
- Those who need land, be it for residential purposes, for business or any other proper use, must apply and follow due process to be allocated. In this way, our communities in rural areas will have access to land for the improvement of their lives.
- The net is closing against those who illegally occupy vacant land. Their days of acting with impunity and in cahoots with those who allocate land through unscrupulous means, taking bribes, are numbered.
- We will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to pursue the perpetrators and bring an end to illegal land invasions.
- Chairperson, as you are aware, COGTA has developed a policy for the Emakhosikati Structure, which provides clear direction of functionality. This policy could not have come at the right time.
- As we fight the scourge of Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), the Emakhosikati Structure, is on the forefront of the fight, especially in rural areas. Women and children in such areas, are the hardest hit by GBVF.
- The policy guides the structure on how to deal with this scourge, which endangers the lives of women and children. The Emakhosikati Structure is constantly raising awareness about Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).
- Recently the structure held an awareness campaign at Msogwaba Traditional Council in collaboration with the Commission for Gender Equality - CGE in Ehlanzeni District to intensify men's formation in the community, to advance the fight.
- Poverty alleviation in rural areas, features prominently on the agenda of the structure. We note with appreciation the intervention measures by the Structure to combat poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through financial support from the Solidarity Fund, the Structure distributed food vouchers to 3000 vulnerable groups in the traditional communities within the three districts.
- Chairperson as part of ensuring effective intergovernmental relations in accordance with the purpose of the District Development Model, our Province will be hosting the Presidential Imbizo on the 20th of May 2022, in Carolina, Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality.
- As leadership and authority of our society, I wish to use this platform to extend an invitation to abo-Ndabezitha across the Province to attend the imbizo, which will be addressed by President Ramaphosa at the Silobela Stadium. The President will be interacting with the citizens of our province on service delivery issues and your voice should be heard on the day of the occasion.
- Chairperson, as I conclude, let me remind the house that your service to the community will never be comfortable. It is the ultimate price you pay as a leader. However, as you toil hard to make their aspirations a reality, it is important to understand that you are doing yourself a priceless service. Nikolai Ostrovsky’s writing, titled ‘Man’s dearest possession is life’, makes this illustration. He states the following and I quote: “It is to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past: so live that, dying, he might say: all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world”, close quote.
SUPPORT FOR TRADITIONAL COUNCILS
OVERSIGHT ROLE OF THE PROVINCIAL HOUSE OF TRADITIONAL AND KHOI-SAN LEADERSHIP
THE PROVINCIAL INITIATION COORDINATING COMMITTEE (PICC)
RECONSTITUTION/CONSTITUTION OF TRADITIONAL COUNCILS & HOUSES OF TRADITIONAL AND KHOI-SAN LEADERS
PARTICIPATION IN MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
LAND INVASION TRADITIONAL COMMUNITIES
EMAKHOSIKATI STRUCTURE ACHIEVEMENTS