26 November 2012

South Africa: Mpumalanga Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Meets King Makhosoke II and King Mabhoko III to Discuss Land Invasions

press release

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) in Mpumalanga has met with King Makhosoke II of the Ndebele and King Mabhoko III of the Ndzudza-Mabhoko to discuss issues of land invasion and people falsely claiming to be "Traditional Leaders" and misleading the public.

At these meetings the department has requested the two Kings to assist in dealing with these scourges and disassociate themselves from people who misuse their names when carrying out such acts. Several cases of people allocating land without the authority of Traditional leaders have been reported in areas within their jurisdiction. Cases of self-appointed traditional leaders have also been reported.

The department has indicated that the allocation of land should be done in line with the Spatial Development Plan (SDP) and the Integrated Development Plan (IDPs). Failure to follow these plans, according to COGTA, may result in people being allocated land in areas not suitable for human habitation or in places where other forms of development were planned. The department also raised a concern that there is a high risk of running short of grazing land, burial sites and land for other sources of life in future if land invasion is not stopped.

COGTA also appealed to the two Kings to help bring to an end, tendencies of people appointing themselves as traditional leaders without following due processes. Traditional Leaders are appointed in terms of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003 read with the Mpumalanga Traditional Leadership and Governance Act, 2005 which provide a comprehensive process which must be followed when indentifying and recognizing traditional leaders. Traditional Leaders refer to King, Queen, Principal Traditional Leader, Senior Traditional Leader and Headmen or Headwomen.

The provisions of the above-mentioned legislation provides that whenever the position of any of the above-mentioned traditional leaders must be filled, the royal family in line with its customary law of succession must identify a person who qualifies to fill the position. It should be noted that the first requirement is that the position must be vacant (due to death or removal) and secondly the royal family must identify a person who qualifies to assume the position of the traditional leader concerned.

The law further provides that after the royal family concerned has identified the person who qualifies, the royal family must inform the Premier of the Province, the Premier must then recognise the person identified by the Royal Family, through a notice in the Provincial Gazette, and issue a certificate of recognition, and the Premier must inform the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders about the particulars of the identified person. It should be noted that the Premier may refuse to issue the certificate of recognition only if the identification was done contrary to customary law and the applicable legislation.

The department would also like to state categorically clear that there can be no traditional leader appointed without following the relevant processes and legislations and without being in possession of certificate of recognition signed by the Premier of Mpumalanga.

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