Farewell remarks by President Jacob Zuma to the National House of Traditional Leaders
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Kgosi P P Maubane - Kgabo!
Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Des Van Rooyen
Deputy Ministers for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Andries Nel
Outgoing members of the National House of Traditional Leaders
Directors-General and other Senior Officials
Let me start by expressing my sincere words of gratitude to the COGTA Ministry and the National House of Traditional Leaders for inviting me once more to come and address you.
I am addressing you this evening on the occasion of the closing ceremony of the Fifth National House of Traditional Leaders, after which some members will not return, while others have another opportunity to serve this August House for another term.
Those members who are serving their last term, be rest assured that you are not alone:
I am also serving the second and last term as the President of both the African National Congress and the Republic of South Africa.
At least some of you the Members have served three or more terms in the National House of Traditional Leaders, as permitted by the relevant legislation.
To all outgoing members, allow me to congratulate you for having served this House with dedication, passion and excellence.
I have no doubt that your families, traditional communities, Traditional Councils, your Local and Provincial Houses, and of course the National House of Traditional Leaders, are proud of you for having availed yourselves to serve them.
I have had the opportunity of personally interacting with you, as a President of the Republic of South Africa, in various forums, especially during the Official Opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders and the subsequent Debate of the Speeches rendered during the Official Opening, for the last five years.
I also had an opportunity to engage with the broader traditional leadership sector during the recent Indaba of Traditional and Indigenous Leaders in Birchwood, Boksburg.
I am delighted to learn that concrete and well thought out Resolutions were taken by the delegates during the Indaba.
The Indaba will be followed by a Dialogue between Traditional Leaders, Government, other structures and civil society in the beginning of September 2017.
The Indaba and Dialogue Resolutions will be taken forward by the Minister for COGTA so that the issues raised in both engagements will be processed and institutionalised for implementation.
I have no doubt that that the Resolutions that were taken at the Birchwood Indaba and those that will be taken during the planned Dialogue will go a long way in clarifying the roles and functions of traditional leadership, and ensure that the necessary support is given to the institution.
I am confident that efforts such as these will go a long way in restoring the dignity of the institution of traditional leadership.
In my various engagements with you as Members of the National House of Traditional House of Traditional Leaders, I found your demeanour, style and manner of engagement compelling and robust, yet honest, focused and constructive.
You would surely remember during the Debate this year how I commended you for your constructive manner of engagement, unlike how politicians often engage, which is usually acrimonious with a view of scoring cheap political points.
There is undoubtedly a lot that politicians can learn from traditional leaders.
In the past five years I have engaged with the National House of Traditional Leaders for not less than ten times during the Official Opening, the Debates and Indaba for Traditional Leaders, during which a number of key issues were raised. The issues raised included, among others, the following:
Land matters, including the reopening of the land claims process;
The role of traditional leaders in crime prevention;
The role of traditional leaders in moral regeneration;
The role of traditional leaders in matters of development and service delivery;
The role of traditional leaders in nation building and social cohesion; and
The role of traditional leaders in other programmes of government.
I have no doubt that a lot of progress has been achieved on many of the above issues in the last five years.
Yes, other issues constitute work in progress, nothing can be achieved within a short space of time, taking into account that as Africans we were under the imperial, colonial and apartheid rule for over 350 Years.
The massive damage done during this period of Three and a Half Centuries cannot in any way be done by within a mere two decades of democratic dispensation.
More time is needed, and the democratic government is doing all it could to reverse the injustices and legacy of the past.
Within these two decades of democratic rule in South Africa, a lot of strides were made, and our people are aware of the gains made.
In fact, it is fair to say that this very democratic government has become a victim of its own success.
In other words, because of the impressive record that the democratic government has with regarding to delivering services to our communities, hope is given to millions of our people, and as a result many more people are putting pressure on government to provide the much needed service imperatives that will improve the lives of our people.
As a caring government, we fully understand the concerns and aspirations of our people, and we are doing everything possible to ensure a better life for them.
The challenge we have is that we do not have a bottomless pit of resources, we are working within the framework of limited resources, which are stretched to the limit.
I have therefore no doubt that in the long run we will triumph over the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
As I conclude, let me wish all the Members who will reconstitute the Sixth National House of Traditional Leaders well.
I also have no doubt that this House will be in good hands, in the same way as it was during the Fifth National House.
Kgosi Maubane, and other outgoing members, I wish you well in your future endeavours.
I have no doubt that you will continue to contribute constructively in the tasks that you will be allocated in life after the National House of Traditional Leaders.
Issued by: The Presidency