Zuma tells traditional leaders to work together to solve problems

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma on Thursday met with traditional leaders during a sitting of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Tshwane to speak about some of the problems they faced.

The leaders raised numerous issues including land, mining companies not benefitting the communities where they operated and how traditional leaders have been shut out of helping to develop their areas.

“There is a lack of funding from the fiscal but there is a lot of expectations for traditional leaders to perform on issues of service delivery,” Nkosi Professor Madoda Zibi told Zuma.

“We do understand that municipalities are capable of providing services but traditional leaders have proved in the past that they can deliver schools and clinics in their areas.”

Zibi also lambasted the attitude of councils towards traditional leaders in communities. He urged Zuma to look into the matter and to ensure they got the respect they deserve.

Equal partners not passengers

“We would like to become equal partners instead of being passengers,” he said.

In his response to all the topics covered, Zuma said the speakers did justice to their topics and the message was received.

"There are issues that will need to be followed and those that will need engagement. Let me thank the traditional leaders for the initiative taken to visit the villages. I hope you will continue to do so and continue to do something when you find those in need,” said Zuma.

Leaders also asked Zuma how the wives and children of chiefs were treated after the chiefs had died. The house said people would fight for the chieftaincy despite the king having heirs to the throne. They said that left the families destitute.

“The matters of funding and finance are always debated because it’s the root of everything we do. I’m sure these matters have been noted and I’m sure they will be followed,” he said.

Zuma promised to meet again with the house to take forward the debate. He was, however, booed by some residents after he left the meeting.