Land redistribution a hot topic at Traditional Leaders Indaba

President Jacob Zuma officially opened the Indigenous and Traditional Leaders Indaba, which took place at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre, on May 29. With the President is Kgosi Pontso Maubane, chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders. Picture supplied by Cogta.

The Indaba aimed at establishing institutional mechanisms and creating a platform for dialogue between the institution of traditional leadership, government and other stakeholders.

Zuma said, as a country, we have traversed a long road from colonial and apartheid rule.

“Today we have a powerful government that is inclusive and representative of all sectors of our society, including traditional leadership.

“Let us use this opportunity to ensure that the sacrifices of our leaders and people go towards building a better South Africa. Our commitment to the liberation of our people, both social and economic, remains as strong as ever.

“Our traditional leaders have an important role to play in the transformation of our country to achieve total liberation,” he said.

He highlighted the importance of engagement between government and traditional leadership to ensure that they participate in the socio-economic transformation programme of the country.

We can’t be one of Africa’s richest economies while our people are poor yet we have minerals – Zuma

He indicated that this Indaba will consider issues that are core to the institution of traditional leadership, such as land redistribution.

“The economic liberation of our people is fundamentally based on land redistribution and ownership and we cannot compromise on this.

“I have advised traditional leaders that they must appoint a firm of attorneys to handle the issues of land and they indicated that the National House was engaging the Black Lawyers Association to assist.

“Equally, it is the duty of our people to lodge land claims, but only where they have proof.

“Traditional leaders can be very helpful in this regard because their predecessors and forefathers fought land wars,” Zuma said.

He outlined that, without legal input, the land claims may not be adequately supported.

Zuma said the Indaba must also consider the wealth underneath the land, and the people of SA must benefit from the minerals extracted.

Zuma said where any mining or other economic activities are happening in the areas of traditional leadership the community must own a certain percentage.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van Rooyen, said the Indaba offers people the platform to raise issues of concern around their understanding of the institution of traditional leadership and its mandate in a democratic South Africa.

He said as Africa Month was celebrated in May, it is important to continue encouraging and affirming the significance of the different cultures within South Africa.

Van Rooyen said the Indaba stimulates both nation building and social cohesion.

“The Indaba is an important avenue for the harmonisation of relationships with communities, other sectors and government.”

Ntombikayise Sibeko

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