THE Limpopo government continues to spend millions of rand on salaries for regents and acting traditional leaders despite their refusal to be subjected to annual review.
The Limpopo Traditional Leadership and Institutions Act dictates, amongst others, that the royal family concerned must within a reasonable time identify a regent or acting traditional leader to assume leadership and inform the Premier of the of particulars of the person identified.
The Premier must, with due regard to applicable customary law or customs recognise the person by notice in the Gazette, issue a certificate of recognition and must conduct review of the person recognised every 12 months.
However, Kenny Mathivha, spokesperson for Premier Stanley Mathabatha, said the question of whether the law was being violated should be posed to the traditional leaders themselves. “The decision was not taken by the Premier alone. It was a consultative process. There’s a discussion amongst them (the traditional leaders) and the process is still going on.”
Mathivha also pointed out that some of the traditional leaders were inherited by the democratic government from the previous administrations.
“The Premier or the House inherited them as such and there were no formalities made. It is also important to inform you that on 29 March 2012, Dikgoshikgadi informed the then MEC for COGHSTA that they object the issue of review as contained in both Provincial and National legislations.
“Their main reason for objecting the review was that the conditions at their Royal Families were not yet conducive for such an activity.
“The Bakgoma and Bakgomana are always in dispute with Dikgoshikgadi, hence the review was never implemented in this province,” Mathivha said.
Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Kgoshi Malesela Dikgale described the issue as “sensitive” because there was going to be “casualties” has the review been conducted every 12 months.
“There are problems within many royal families. So, if someone can go for a review, he or she will not come back as a leader. Chieftainship is controlled by royal families. So as the House of Traditional Leaders, we cannot interfere.
“All we can do is to try to reconcile the warring factions. It’s true there are serious fights within royal families and some of them if there can be a review they won’t be regents or acting chiefs anymore. If we can take that route, we will be stoking fires. That’s why we want the [Kgatla] Commission to wrap up its work at least by December and see what its recommendations are,” Dikgale said.
The Kgatla Commission was established in 2012. At the time, there were 28 kingship claims, 398 senior traditional leadership claims, 94 headmen and women claims and 23 traditional leadership boundaries claims. It was supposed to have wrapped its task in 2015 but its mandated was extended by two years.
Mathivha told African Times that the commission briefed Mathabatha two weeks ago on the progress made so far.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) earlier pointed out that it was aware that some traditional leaders were expected to lose their positions when the Commission completes its work.
However, principal traditional leadership had been developed as an exit plan for those who will lose their positions.