The role of traditional leaders in a democratic South Africa : looking back to the past and the present : the case of rural development in Ndwedwe local municipality.
Ngcobo, Muziwenhlanhla Mduduzi.
MetadataShow full item record
Controversies pertaining to the role of traditional leaders have been and continue to be at the centre of rural development in the democratic South Africa. Legacies of these controversies stemmed from their ambiguous roles in previous regimes which seem to linger in their role in current local governance. Although the institution of traditional leaders is protected by Chapter 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and also preserved by ANC led democratic government but the nature of its roles and powers over rural populace remain as one of challenged governmental approach. The decentralization of administrative power to lower structures of government together with the formation of district and local municipalities has resulted into a questionable credibility of traditional leaders. Moreover, exclusion and underdevelopment of local communities has also attributed to their unprecedented power over land administration in the countryside. South Africa’s distinct history of rural infrastructural underdevelopment and contemporal endeavors towards the remedy of previously excluded communities thus has its costs and benefits. Moving governmental decisions-making processes closer to local communities as an endeavour of democratization of local authorities has also revived discourse of whether democratic government should abandon traditional leaders due to their perceived undemocratic traditional practices. However, land administration and constitutional recognition of the institution of traditional leadership continue to forge its relevance in democratic South Africa especially in rural areas. On the other hand, it has been a common practice in Africa that different domains of authority govern same people where governments conserves traditional authority as a political resource without diminishing the authority of the sovereign state. Likewise, South Africa’s preservation of the institution in question seems to perceive traditional leaders as prone to harmonize with and promote democratic norms and practice in the post-apartheid South Africa. Transformation of involved local institutions together with the promotion of their wider and deeper participation and of citizens at local level seem to have potential of resolving quarreling views while indorsing community based local development.