Ramaphosa says traditional leaders play a pivotal role in society


Ramaphosa says traditional leaders play a pivotal role in society

Neo Goba | 2017-06-02 12:41:56.0

Hosi Shilungwa Mhinga II (from left), chief of the Mhinga clan in Malamulele, Limpopo, gives deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa a list of issues the community is facing. They are flanked by Cogta Minister Des van Rooyen.

Image by: Neo Goba

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has highlighted the significance of traditional leaders in reshaping communities and providing guidance.

Delivering his message at the Traditional Leaders Indaba‚ which comes to an end on Friday in Boksburg‚ east of Johannesburg‚ Ramaphosa said traditional leaders will continue to exist and receive support from government‚ as they have an important place in a democratic society.

“As government‚ we are deeply invested in supporting and strengthening the institution of traditional leadership. We are invested in restoring the pride and dignity of traditional authority‚ so that our leaders can better lead the reconstruction and development of our nation‚” Ramaphosa said.

“Our constitution recognises that without the institution of traditional leadership‚ our South African community is incomplete [and] without your active participation‚ our nation will not overcome the scourges of poverty‚ unemployment and inequality.”

He said South African communities – which are led by traditional leaders – cannot be successful without working together with elected representatives in local government.

“It is a vision that sees the institution of traditional leadership contributing significantly to employment creation‚ social cohesion and nation building. For generations‚ it has been the function of traditional leadership to facilitate economic development‚ protect communities and preserve the environment‚” Ramaphosa said.

On Monday President Jacob Zuma officially opened the Indaba‚ also citing the significance of traditional leaders in society.

In his address‚ Zuma spoke about the work being done to improve the age-old institution of traditional leadership and committed to working with this sector.

Throughout his address‚ Ramaphosa urged traditional leaders to work in partnership with government to improve the lives of communities to deal with social ills and to improve the health of rural people.

“Traditional leaders have a crucial role to play in promoting awareness‚ tackling prejudice and combating stigma. There are areas where traditional leaders have taken the lead in encouraging men to be circumcised‚ even where it is not a common cultural practice‚ because it significantly reduces the chances of HIV transmission‚” Ramaphosa added.

“In particular‚ we need to address their vulnerability to HIV and TB‚ by focusing both on prevention and ensuring access to treatment. Our response to these epidemics needs to take account of the cultural practices and beliefs of our people.”

The deputy president assured traditional leaders that government wants to help them address the land question‚ by making sure that a percentage of land that chiefs and kings have control over will be transferred to traditional communities.

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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