Back to top


Opening remarks by Deputy President David Mabuza delivered at the engagement with Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders in the Mpumalanga Province

Our host, Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane of Mpumalanga Province, and other members of the Provincial Executive Council who are here today;
Deputy Ministers Obed Bapela and Mcebisi Skwatsha;
The Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, Nkosikazi Mhlauli, Ah! NoSandi!
The Chairperson of the Provincial House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, Kgosi Mokoena;
All Traditional Leaders present;
Mayors present here today;
Esteemed traditional leaders,
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being able to join us today.
Premier, thank you for welcoming us to your vibrant province, rich in history, culture, magnificent wildlife, majestic mountains, beautiful forests, and bright skies.
Without your help and effort, this crucial interaction with Traditional and Khoi-San leaders would not have been possible.
In addition, we would like to thank you, our revered Amakhosi nama Khosikazi, for taking time out from your busy schedules to participate in today's discussion.
Your dedication to overcoming complicated development issues facing traditional communities and leaders inspires us.
Esteemed traditional leaders,
We are holding this gathering during the month-long celebration of our nation's heritage. Several activities are being held to commemorate our history and the cultural heritage of our people, including the traditions and languages of which we are very proud.
This month also offers us a great opportunity to remember our nation's history of liberation, which resulted in the drafting of our Constitution.
As a result of traditional liberation leadership, communities have been unified and the social fabric has been strengthened, while our people's way of life has been preserved.
Your leadership as Traditional and Khoisan leaders is essential to our country's development of a cohesive, unified, and prosperous society that is democratic, non-racial, and non-sexist in nature.
We can attain these aspirations if we confront the difficulties that continue to undermine our social fabric.
Some of these societal challenges include unemployment, HIV/AIDS and TB, and inequality, and not having enough water for homes and farming.
We must also address the issue of limited access to information and communication technology services in rural communities.
To achieve this, intentional and targeted investments in rural infrastructure networks are required to provide people with access to clean water and sanitation, electricity, and roads that link them to places of employment, schools, and hospitals.
While the government is making progress on resolving some of the concerns, there are still issues that are in the process of being reviewed and processed.
As government, we are committed to responding quickly to any problems or concerns so that we can find sustainable solutions.
As part of this commitment, the President has set up the Inter-Ministerial Task Team, which is led by the Deputy President and given the responsibility of coordinating the government's response to the problems traditional leaders face across the country. 
Traditional leadership, as an institution located in the rural areas has a role to play in collaborating with government to resolve these challenges, including social ills of gender-based violence, child abuse, crime, substance abuse and others.
As traditional leaders, you should promote democratic governance and the values of an open and democratic society; progressively advance gender equality within the institutions of traditional leadership; and promote freedom and human dignity.
Esteemed traditional leaders,
As we have gathered here today, we are aware of the challenges that you as Traditional and Khoi-San leaders, are facing. What we can promise is that we will keep working hard with you to resolve these challenges.
We have learned from various provincial engagements and dialogues, including the one we had last week in the North West Province that your challenges as Traditional and Khoi-San leaders correlate across geographical areas.
We have also been criticised for taking too long to put in place measures to help the traditional communities address your challenges. We admit that we might not have acted quickly enough on some of the issues you have raised.
We have heard your demand to accelerate the execution of the necessary measures so that rural areas can catch up to the rest of the nation in terms of development.
Regarding land tenure and administration, we are all aware that this is a complicated subject for those who reside in or seek to invest in traditional regions.
This issue was also raised during the Communal Land Administration and Tenure Reform Summit in May this year. The Summit was successful in adopting resolutions that will go a long way towards the development of appropriate land reform legislation and policies.
We will continue to strive to achieve the development and sustainability of rural communities by ensuring that land rights are provided and that ownership is transferred from the state to rightful owners.
Additionally, we will focus more on improving inclusive land use management, building infrastructure, and providing targeted aid to rural populations.
It is critical to prioritise access to land as a crucial asset for rural development and economic transformation, so that the land held in trust by Traditional and Khoi-San leaders may be effectively used for agricultural, human settlements, and industrial development.
Together with Traditional and Khoi-San leaders, our government will make sure that ordinary people benefit from commercial land use and the extraction of natural resources in traditional communities.
Esteemed traditional leaders,
The ongoing interactions between the government and traditional leaders in efforts to address obstacles that limit development in rural communities have highlighted the need for a closer working partnership between the government and traditional leaders at all levels.
As a government, we will continue working with traditional leaders to find solutions to problems that affect rural areas. 
In this regard, we are making some progress, and during the course of the day, you will hear more when the progress report on government’s coordinated response on matters raised by Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders is presented. 
As we move along the path to development, we need to make sure the decisions we take today and beyond are put into action.
We must ensure that there is alignment in the resolution of the issues raised by the respective leaders.
We hope your involvement today will help solve rural issues. As partners, we should work to unite the rural communities and South Africa as a country.
Thank you very much.