Department of Traditional Affairs & CRL Rights Commission 2020/21 Annual Performance Plans, with Minister and Deputy Ministers

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs

11 May 2020
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC), Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Joint meeting of PC and SC on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs 11 May 2020
Audio: Department of Traditional Affairs & CRL Rights Commission 2020/21 Annual Performance Plans, with Minister and Deputy Ministers 

Annual Performance Plan (APP) of Government Departments & Entities 20/2021

The Committee was due to be briefed by both the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the CRL Rights Commission but ended up only hearing the former due to time constraints and committing to rescheduling the latter so as to elevate the work of the Commission, giving it the proper attention it deserved as a Commission dealing with many issues. This was a virtual meeting.

The Minister said that the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan (APP) presented were in line with the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and its seven priorities. She believed that the Department of Traditional Affairs was strategically placed to work with its provincial counterparts and that the institution of traditional leadership served as a partner towards giving effect to the priorities. The Department’s key focus areas in the plan were rooted in the District Development Model (DDM).

She highlighted that COVID-19 had shown how important food security was. To this end, one of the key programmes to be implemented was the Agrarian Revolution Programme (ARP) which had been re-modelled to respond to the needs of traditional communities. The Department also aimed to focus on agricultural and other rural development programmes for the implementation of the DDM in communal areas under traditional leadership. Traditional Councils and Local Houses of traditional leaders were the structures of traditional leadership closest to communities and would be the main drivers for DDM. Challenges identified by the Minister included the lack of supporting legislation to regulate initiation practices – to which the Minister asked for Parliament’s support in finalising the Customary Initiation Bill. Other challenges included the COVID-19 heath pandemic, its consequential economic effects and the budgetary constraints within which the Department operated.

The Director-General presented the Department’s Strategic Plan and APP. He highlighted the four departmental outcomes as being safe initiation practices over the period of the MTSF, developed communities in areas of traditional leadership and developed communities in areas of traditional leadership. The Department aimed to align its four departmental outcomes with the relevant chapters of the National Development Plan and the seven MTSF priorities. Compliance was to be measured by awareness campaigns, creating an Approved Handbook or having Traditional Leaders in all Provinces to rely on, and by creating an Approved Framework for understanding the roles and functions of traditional leaders.

Once the Traditional and Khoi and San Leadership Act came into effect, the Department aimed to monitor the constitution of the councils in all the provinces to ensure that all the provisions of the act and all the timeframes around their constitution of traditional councils were met. Although the Department said that it had already started preliminary work to do with the establishment of a Commission on Khoi and San Matters, the actual appointment of members of the commission would have to wait for the Act to come into effect. The Department then identified three research areas for this financial year to do with the customary roles of Khoi and San leadership, the challenges of the co-existence of traditional leadership within a democratic dispensation and issues of African customary law. The Department then briefly tried to demystify the contents of the different headings of the budget.

The Committee raised numerous questions to the Department which had to do with the low targets set for the APP and the lack of mention of the initiation deaths that took place late 2019. The Members said more should be done to curb initiation deaths and asked what measures the Department would put in place to this end.

Questions were asked about the budgetary allocations for the administration and the ministry and what the Department’s response would be to the budgetary cuts in light of COVID-19, when 49% of its budget paid the staff body and half went to the CRL Rights Commission. Other points of contention related to Khoi and San Recognition. These included questions on the recognition of the Khoi-and San languages; questions about land claims by the Khoi and San and how the Commission on Khoi and San matters would decide the leadership claims. In the case of land disputes, the Committee enquired how the budget for these would be catered for if the Department’s budget for disputes and claims was to be decreased by 40%.

Deputy Minister, Mr Obed Bapela, answered most of these questions, and whilst the Director-General answered some, the bulk of them were deferred for written response to the Committee. The Committee stressed the importance of the Department’s speedy and complete response as it intended on adopting the report by Friday, 15 May 2020.

Meeting report

Introductory remarks by the Chairperson

Co-Chairperson Muthambi recounted that national departments tabled their Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and Strategic Plans in late February before things changed due to COVID-19; things were likely to change with the coming reprioritisations of budgets. This week’s meetings would deal with the Money Bill Amendment Procedures and Related Matters Act. The Bill allowed Parliament to reject, recommend or amend budgets of national government departments and organs of state. The Act enjoined the Committee to compile and adopt a budget vote report with observations and recommendations. The report would be the basis for debate when the National Assembly (NA) considered the appropriation and revenue bills which the Finance Minister tabled together with the budget in February. On Friday, 08 May 2020, the NA began with the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCG) and MESA. The Select Committee would have to schedule a meeting with DCG and MESA in due course. Today, the NA would deal with the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) alone as it now had its own separate budget. South African Local Government Association (SALGA) would follow on Tuesday and conclude on Wednesday, 13 May 2020, with the Municipal Demarcation Board. The two Chairpersons agreed that the Select Committee Chairperson, Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West) would chair the meeting for the CRL presentation.


Co-Chairperson Muthambi welcomed the Committee and the Department. He indicated that the Minister had to excuse herself at 18:30 as she was the lead Minister for disaster management.

Introductory remarks by the Minister

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), said that the plan to be presented was in line with the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and its seven priorities. She believed that the DTA was strategically placed to work with its provincial counterparts and that the institution of traditional leadership served as a partner towards giving effect to the seven priorities. DTA’s key focus areas were rooted in the District Development Model (DDM) which aimed to address lack of coherent government services. To this end, the DTA was assembling district hubs which would oversee the implementation of the DDM. The DDM aimed to break the silos in government by ensuring that they work better, faster and in a more agile and coherent manner. The Department had employed technology and virtual meetings were increasingly becoming a norm, thus saving time and resources.

The DTA also enlisted the support of traditional leaders as they were key partners in the implementation of the DDM. During the launch of the model, traditional leaders were consulted and they supported it enthusiastically; they were directed to provide more focussed attention to rural development and food security. COVID-19 showed the importance of food security. To this end, one of the key programmes to be implemented was the Agrarian Revolution Programme (ARP) which had been remodelled to respond to the needs of traditional communities. Agricultural and other rural development programmes would be the Department’s focus for the implementation of the DDM in communal areas under traditional leadership. Traditional Councils and Local Houses of traditional leaders were the structures of traditional leadership closest to communities and would be the main drivers for DDM. The leaders intended to work with these structures in order to respond to the needs of communities under traditional leadership over the period of the MTSF.


The sector continued to face challenges including the lack of enabling legislation to regulate practices such as customary initiation. The Minister appealed to Parliament for assistance in processing and implementing the Customary Initiation Bill. In anticipation of the Bill being finalised, the Strategic Plan included activities to take place over the next few years to implement that piece of legislation.

Another challenge was the ongoing leadership disputes in the sector. These had a destabilising effect on the sector, especially where parties dragged each other to court. Both the strategic plan and the APP of the Department were alive to these challenges and reflected efforts that would be embarked on to address this challenge. The Department also operated under resource constraints, even as the Department assumed new responsibilities such as the establishment of the Commission on the Khoi and San Matters. This was done within the framework of a very constrained resource envelope.

It was important to note that this briefing was taking place on the 46th day of the national lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus. To date, there had been over 4.12 million infections and 283 000 deaths worldwide. Throughout Africa there were currently over 63 000 confirmed cases, with over 2000 deaths. This was not just a health pandemic because it threatened to depress the global, continental and national economies. The continental economies would contract by about 5-7% and this would be the first time in almost two decades. In Southern Africa, these rates were the third highest in the five regions of the African Union. As at 11 May 2020, South Africa (SA) had 10 653 cases, with 5 621 of them in the Western Cape alone. There had been 4 173 recoveries and 206 deaths. However, SA had the highest number of tests conducted in the continent. The Western Cape seemed to be becoming the epicentre, with the case numbers in its metros rising very quickly.

This meant that the world was facing a health pandemic as well an economic problem. SA’s economy was ailing before this, having been downgraded to junk status. This was the context in which the budget would be spent. The reality thus indicated that departments must readjust their plans. CoGTA was currently re-evaluating its plans so that it may factor in the effects and the implications of the COVID-19 which would have an adverse effect on the livelihoods of all people, especially people in rural areas. The DTA was in communication with traditional leaders to readjust some cultural practices and the leaders agreed that initiations would be halted for the remainder of 2020. Funerals and other religious and cultural practices were stopped in order to observe social distancing. The DTA would soon report to the Committee with the adjusted plans. She handed over to the Director-General for the detailed presentation.

Briefing by the DTA on its APP and Strategic Plan

Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, Director-General (DG) of CoGTA, greeted all observed protocol. These plans were tabled on 11 March 2020, before COVID-19, and further work would be done on these plans before re-tabling them.

Part two: Structure of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan

Impact statement and departmental outcomes

1. Safe initiation practices over the period of the MTSF with the goal being the finalisation of the Customary Initiation Bill. Their focus would be the implementation of the legislation and having as many provinces as possible complying with it.

2. Functional institution of Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership:

- The Department envisaged finalising a handbook to be an indicating the kinds of tools of trade which traditional leaders would qualify for. The goal was that during this period, a handbook would be approved with the vision being that all the provinces would comply with it.

- The Department was looking forward to a Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act (TKLA) coming into effect during the period of the MTSF.

- Once new legislation was in place, there needed to be training focused on traditional leaders and on the Traditional Councils. This separation was because not all members of traditional councils were traditional leaders. The goal was that over the period of the MTSF, 50 of the councils should be trained. The Department had had discussions with its principals since tabling these plans and committed to ramping up the figure identifying 100 traditional leaders when it came back to Parliament as the target was quite low.

3. Developed communities in areas of Traditional Leadership:

- There had been 14 pilot projects implemented of the ARP; the goal was that in a period of five years, the Department would assist in implementing 60 projects.

4. Transformed institution of Traditional Leadership:

- A Commission on Khoi and San Matters would be established to recommend qualifying leaders to the Minister for appointment with the goal of 75% of applications being processed within five years.

- At a district level, the involvement of traditional leaders in the promotion of social cohesion and nation building was being emphasised by focusing on the aim that 100% of Local Houses participating in the DDM should have programmes and projects which would promote social cohesion and nation building as traditional leaders were custodians of culture.

Alignment of DTA Strategic Plan and APP to NDP and MTSF Priorities

The Department aimed to align its four departmental outcomes with the relevant chapters of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the seven MTSF priorities. Where the presentation spoke to an integrated and inclusive rural economy, this related to MTSF priority two, which was economic transformation and job creation. This priority used to be priority number one but there were developments which felt that the focus on a capable, ethical and developmental state should be emphasised by being the first priority.

Part three: 2020/21 Annual Performance Plan

Measuring performance

This was being done by awareness campaigns and guidelines which had been drafted to advise communities and traditional leaders and by completing an Approved Handbook for traditional leadership by the end of the year. The postponement of initiation practices for 2020 allowed the leaders to prepare for the next season. The Department also intended to form an approved framework on roles and functions of traditional leadership looking at what legislation said and making sure that it was converted into an accepted framework which was widely consulted and which could be implemented and monitored beyond the current financial year.


Compliance with the provisions of the TKLA relating to the constitution of councils

The Department was looking at eight provinces as compliance depended on the level of formalisation of the necessary structures in those provinces. If the Western Cape instituted structures of traditional leadership, the DTA would be looking at the compliance of nine provinces. The target aimed to avoid the problem of the establishment and constitution of councils within certain timeframes. Previously, these timeframes had expired before some province had constituted councils, which created a problem with the legislative standing of those councils. Once the legislation came into effect, the DTA would monitor the constitution of the councils in all the provinces to ensure that the timeframes were met this time around.

The Department intended on looking at Local Houses of traditional leadership and workshopping them based on good practices experiences and lessons as work done during the 2019/20 financial year.

As the TKLA was signed into effect in 2019, the Department would be auditing the provinces to ensure compliance with the Act as a whole. The Department recounted that it had spoken to both committees before about the work it had been doing in documenting customary laws of succession and genealogies. In doing this, the Department selected one kingship or queenship per annum and had looked at eight incumbents thus far. This work had proved to be a useful type of work at documenting the rich history of each kingship or queenship based on a participatory process involving relevant members of the kingship or queenship, as identified by the royal family and the principal traditional leaders. The Department would be taking another kingship or queenship during the current financial year to assist with the documenting of the customary laws of succession and genealogy. The DTA aimed to document the roles and functions of members of the royal family so that in cases of succession disputes, there was clarity on how the roles and functions as well as readily available information on traditional leadership.

Establishment of the Commission on Khoi and San Matters

The Department indicated that it had already started preliminary work in this area in anticipation of the TKLA coming into effect. However, the actual appointment of members of the Commission could only take place after the Act came into effect.


Three Research studies for the current financial year

Annually, the Department identified research studies to pursue in order to better understand lesser understood areas in the institution of traditional leadership. In this financial year, the DTA designated research on the customary roles of Khoi and San leadership. There was also a need for more research on the challenges of the co-existence of traditional leadership within a democratic dispensation. Research around issues of African customary law had also been raised with the Department.


The Department aimed to support the different houses of traditional leadership in programmes that looked to support social cohesion and nation building. In doing this, the Department would be working closely with the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and there was already an MoU between them, for this purpose. When the Department considered the number of houses of traditional leadership, it took cognisance of the fact that Gauteng did not have a house of traditional leadership. Therefore, the two senior traditional leaders in Gauteng linked up more with the National House of Traditional Leaders.

The Department aimed to work with kingships and queenships in identifying those community rules which did not conform to the Bill of Rights. The aim was to target three queenships per year to ensure that they are complied with the Bill of Rights.

The Department planned on promoting the participation of traditional leaders in the remodelling process of the ARP and their involvement in implementing the DDM.

Part four: Budget Allocation as percentage per programme

The presentation outlines the audited budgetary outcomes for the period of 2020-2023. The Department explained that the part of the budget labelled ‘economic classification’ explains the overall program out comes in terms of economic outcomes for the compensation of employees, goods and services, transfers and subsidies and payments for capital and financial assets. This budget includes the Department, the National House of Traditional Leaders and includes the transfer that is made to the CRL Rights Commission.



Ms H Mkhaliphi (EFF) asked for clarity on the APP targets. The DG specifically said that the Customary Initiation Act was still in progress, but it was worrisome that the Department only had four targets relating to their campaign around initiation schools when there were events such as the killing young people in the Eastern Cape last year. This was a cause of concern for the Committee.

The Department’s functional institutions of the traditional and Khoi-San leadership only identified two provinces as its annual target; she thought this target is very soft. In general, the low targets do not make sense, but she recognised that the Department was currently reformulating them. The role of the traditional leaders needed to be clearer in respect of the DDM. She asked why the ministry was getting the largest share in the budget. The presentation was not clear on how the Department intended to deal with the oppression of women in rural areas such as when they owned land but had it taken away when their husbands die.

Mr S Mfayela (IFP, KwaZulu-Natal) asked about transforming the traditional leadership institutions. He thought it was a good plan but that capacity was more important as traditional leaders and councillors were working in the same space. The Department should look into giving them more capacity as it was a mockery to traditional and Khoi-San leadership to work in the same space as counsellors while having minimal capacity. If functions are given, capacity also needs to be given.

Ms P Xaba-Ntshaba (ANC) asked about the Khoi-San leadership. Who would lead the tribe from the front as there are many leadership conflicts? How many chiefs and kings exist in the Khoi-San community? Finally, she asked for the surnames of the chiefs in Gauteng as she lived in Gauteng and would like to ensure that she began by paying respects at the chief’s house when travelling into their areas.

Ms M Mmola (ANC, Mpumalanga) agreed with Ms Mkhaliphi about the targets being too low. She then asked how the Department would ensure that Local Houses effectively performed their roles and functions.

Ms Z Ncitha (ANC, Eastern Cape) recounted that slide seven spoke to the re-modelling of the ARP. In which provinces and municipalities are these programmes taking place? What is the timeframe set for finalising the research on the Khoi-San leadership so that they can know exactly who the Minister adopts based on the research they do? There were two provinces which were determined for the implementation of the ARP re-modelling. Has the Act from 2019 has come into effect?

Ms M Tlou (ANC) first asked what initiatives the Department was going to implement to ensure that initiation schools complied with the pending Customary Initiation Act’s provisions. She then asked what the Department was doing to address the inconsistencies in the provision of tools of trade and budgets for traditional leadership. What strategic support is the Department providing Local Houses to ensure that they effectively perform their roles and functions?

She also asked whether the Department could assure the nation that the re-modelled ARP would better respond to the reduction of poverty in traditional communities. The DDM was currently piloted in 44 district municipalities and eight metros with the objective of accelerating integrated service delivery and job creation; what is the Department doing to facilitate the contribution of traditional leadership in the DDM for the benefit of traditional communities? As SA was a diverse country with various religions and cultures, how will the Department ensure that provincial houses of traditional leadership are participating in social cohesion programmes as keepers of culture?

Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) asked whether the budget included the Khoi-San now that they would be recognised. He also asked how the Department envisioned adjusting the budget after taking into account the impact of COVID-19 and its disruption of the budget. He also asked whether the Department took into account chiefs and queens that were living under current structures of traditional leadership. He asked whether these chiefs would be recognised under those structures or run parallel in an area that was governed by one traditional leader and how the Department intended to deal with such matters. Will the Khoi-San be raising the issue of land ownership?

Mr G Mpumza (ANC) said that the Minister’s brief and the Department suggested that in the re-modelling of the ARP so as to ensure food security and as a means of contributing to the DDM. There was also an indication that in the re-modelling, the type of institutional arrangement suggested was that of cooperatives. This was a good idea but in the plans there did not seem to be any provision for capacity building for such cooperatives. Without training for cooperatives as an institutional regiment in rural communities, the ARP would remain a pipe dream. Transforming institutions of leadership had to do with ensuring that they were responding to unity and social cohesion in communities but that social cohesion included access to land in rural community settings. Currently, the majority of traditional communities were landless and poverty would continue to triumph. Social cohesion had to ensure that the principles and values of democratisation would have to be involved at the forefront of the process of ensuring that traditional leaders were seized with social cohesion within their rural communities. The Committee needed to see a clear plan in the APP of empowering the community so that in the end the land would be a source of living and economic well-being.

Mr I Groenewald (FF+) said that the budget alluded to the fact that 49% related to employee costs. These figures were calculated before the impact of COVID-19 on state finances and the coming reductions. If there was a reduction of the budget, how will the Department remain relevant and sustain its work if it had to give over half of its budget to CRL, when nearly half of the budget went to salaries.

Ms G Opperman (DA) said that she foresaw three big issues on the Khoi-San, revolving around Land, Language and Leadership. The 1913 Native Land Act did not include land restitution to Khoi-San communities dispossessed of their land prior to 1913; the Khoi-San land confiscation was also not mentioned in the Khoi-San in the Land Restitution Act of 1994, which held little benefit for the tribe. Now that the TKLA has been enacted, will the Department be embarking on a process of facilitating claims of legitimisation for land claims prior to 1913? How much of the budget will be set aside for the establishment of the Commission on Khoi and San Matters? She also foresaw lots of Khoi-San leadership disputes. Since the Department reduced the current budget for disputes and claims by 40%, how will these disputes and claims will be funded?

She recounted that there had been an outcry from Khoi and San communities for recognition of their languages. Only 20% of the budget was spent on linguistic rights; will the budget be revised to focus on Khoi-San languages as a project, and what projects will be undertaken in relation to linguistic metres pertaining to the Khoi-San languages and specifically to Nàmá? There had also been a recommendation that the CRL and the Department should raise their activities around linguistic matters.

Mr S Zandamela (EFF, Mpumalanga) asked for a detailed programme, of each province, to be sent to the Committee secretary. The rest of his questions were covered by other Members.

Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) asked how long the Khoi-San had been staging protests at the Union Buildings, if they were still there and who was helping them.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi referred to slide 20, which was about the types of interventions the Department was embarking on to involve traditional leadership in the implementation of the DDM and the participation of Local Houses in the model. She said that the presentation lacked specificity and sounded vague. The majority of the Members attended the District Command Council and as far as they knew, the Local Houses were not participating in the DDM.

Slide 17 indicated that the Department undertook to conduct and finalise a number of research projects which were said to be concluded at the Indaba. The Department now said that it was going to do three more projects yet when the Committee asked for access to this research, the Department responded by saying that it was an internal document. She asked for the Department to clarify why Parliament was not allowed to see the document even though it was in the APP and the Department said the research was concluded.

She pointed out that slide 10 outlined the 2019/20 MTSF priorities incorrectly and asked what document were used to quote them. She claimed that the correct priorities were:

-Priority one: Economic transformation, not “a capable ethical and development state.”

-Priority two: Education skills and health, not “economic transformation as in the presentation.”

-Priority five: Social cohesion and safer communities, not “special integration and human settlement.”

-Priority six: Capable ethical and developmental state, not “social cohesion and safer communities.”

She asked how much the Department was setting aside for the establishment of the Commission on Khoi and San Matters. Her next question was posed year in and year out: how many pending litigation cases on traditional leadership disputes and claims were currently before the courts? How do they compare to previous years? What is the anticipated cost for 2020/2021?

She also asked how many Traditional Councils were under the heading ‘Administration’. How much is the Department paying the administrator and which programmes are funding these expenses? If the Department is inundated with disputes and claims for various leadership positions as reported, why is there a 40% reduction in the budget for disputes and claims?

Mr C Brink (DA) expressed that it was a strange experience to listen to the Minister raising certain crucial issues regarding the COVID-19 crisis but not stay for questions. He understood that she reported her apology for having to depart early, but in principle it is critical that if the Minister appears and speaks to the Committee, she should stay to answer questions. It is important that Parliament is treated with that kind of respect, especially since ordinary parliamentary mechanisms were not in place during this time. The Minister exercises a great deal of power currently and the two Deputy Ministers (DMs), with all due respect, were not Members of the Cabinet or of the Coronavirus Command Council. Even if Members asked the DMs questions about issues raised by the Minister, they did not have the authority to answer. The Committee should take up this issue seriously.

The initiation deaths fell partly within an area of concern for this Department. By 08 December 2019, 17 people had died at initiation schools in the Eastern Cape, but the season started on 17 November. The Committee heard very little from the Department about this problem and only slide 12 referred to safe initiation practices and the output indicator was the number of awareness campaigns. Surely the Department’s responsibility in curbing initiation deaths did not end in awareness campaigns, but there needed to be some commitment to health standards as well as some commitment to reporting these matters. The Department also had to follow up with the police or enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with traditional leaders who exercised influence to prevent these things from happening.

Compared to FY2018/19, the compensation portion of the budget had increased considerably from R65 million to R79 million, which was much more than inflation. He asked the DG to explain how this happened and indicate if the Department had filled vacancies since. This was particularly important as the number of transfers and subsidies had decreased, which would presumably be to entities under the Department’s purview. Secondly, the administration budget had increased from R41 million up to R50 million. He asked for some insight into what caused this.

Mr Mthethwa rose on a point of order about Mr Brink’s statement. He said he did not know what Mr Brick was talking about when he said that the Ministers had a lot of power, these days. If he did not want to accept the Minister’s apology, he should have said so and not try to insinuate that Ministers’ powers. What is this power he was referring to?

Co-Chairperson Muthambi asked if Mr Brink would like to respond.

Mr Brink responded by clarifying that he meant that this particular Minister held a lot of power according to the Disaster Management Act to issue regulations under that Act. Since Parliament’s ordinarily procedures were suspended, he thought that if the Minister attended the meeting, at least let her take questions about the issues that she raised – especially as her deputies did not have the knowledge and the authority to answer those questions. It was a simple statement and he thought it was an important matter as Parliament was not sitting as usual. He thanked the Chairperson.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi said that these issues would be raised formally with the Minister, but asked that henceforth Members should raise such issues whilst apologies were being announced.

Mr B Luthuli (IFP) asked how the Department was ensuring and monitoring the involvement of traditional leaders in COVID-19 processes. In the municipalities, it was worrisome that while all the Amakhosi (Kings) were participating, it was as if it was a gentlemen’s agreement because the Amakhosi were not allowed to vote in the municipalities. How will the Department deal with this matter?

Mr K Ceza (EFF) asked if there were plans in place to stop schools from taking boys to initiation during this COVID-19 crisis and whether money would come from the state stimulus package, whether the stimulus would be impacted and what the impact would be. He also said that there seemed to be no programmes at local level and asked why social cohesion programmes were targeted at certain areas and why most of the budget was spent in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and was centralised at the Department of Arts and Culture in Pretoria. He further asked the Department to clarify why this was so. Apart from the participation of rural-based cooperatives, what rural development initiatives have been put in place to discourage rural to urban migration? Finally, he asked the DG to explain why the presentation was not speaking to climate change and the green revolution.

Deputy Minister’s Responses

Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Obed Bapela, said he would answer some of the questions and leave the rest to the DG.


Role of Traditional leaders in the DDM

When the DDM was launched, traditional leaders were part of the stakeholders consulted and participation was high. There would be the establishment, at a district level, of hubs which would be the implementing body of all the programmes being implemented in that district. These bodies included all government departments as well as national, provincial and district municipalities. There was the issue of land release which would be engaged on when certain programmes needed to be undertaken on communal land for the benefit of the entire district, as the majority of land was under the traditional leaders. Their involvement in the hubs had been identified. From time to time, committees would be established for a specific activity. Traditional leaders would know about these from the hub and would stream into the particular working streams within the DDM. Participation would happen through the houses and though traditional leaders who were not serving in the house but were part of that district.

The oppression of women

This was an issue for the Department of Rural Development but what they were dealing with had to do with this patriarchy, which was a societal issue that society was continuing to engage with. The Land Summit which was planned for June was going to engage with this issue, but everything was postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.

Land ownership and the right to inherit by women

The Department began engaging with a model of reform with traditional leaders. Streams of research had also begun with the Deputy Minister for Rural Development taking a team of traditional leaders and researchers to Uganda and Rwanda. There was a trip scheduled to Ghana, which Deputy Minister Bapela himself was meant to lead but it was postponed. The goal of this research was to learn from other African countries that democratised before SA had adopted the traditional leadership concept within their communities, particularly around the issue of land. This was going to be presented at the Land Summit where communities, traditional leaders, land specialists, government and parliament would be invited to engage with this matter. Amongst these engagements, would be reviewing the role of women in land use so that they can have similar rights to everybody else. Patriarchy was a bigger subject matter that society was engaging on.


There was a programme in the Department which was beginning to deal with the role of traditional leaders who were women and how they found space in the sector, including those who were wives of traditional leaders and kings – also having an expression and a role to play. The Department was also working with CRL Rights and Human Rights Commission and others to model the role of women in as far as identifying some of the cultures which were discriminatory towards women and beginning to say that these cultures no longer belonged in a democratic society.

Gauteng Chieftainships

Chief Kekana in Hammanskraal and Chief Inkosi Mahlangu in Bronkhorstpruit were the two chieftainships that currently existed in Gauteng.

Khoi-San Leadership

There was going to be a Commission which would function the way that the Nhlapo Commission functioned. Claims could be as many as 10 000 or 20 000 but the Commission would go through all of them and decide based on history and lineage, who was eligible for the claims. The outcomes would not please everyone. There was no answer as to who would be king or chief, but everyone who claimed to be would have to go through that process and then wait for the Commission to give the verdict.

Court cases about Khoi-San land claims

When land claims were opened for the second round, and which were currently suspended by the court, a lot of claims came from the Khoi-San communities. These claims were to be seen once the suspension was lifted. The claimants raised the issue that the law limited them to land claims from 1913 onwards, but not before 1913. This issue would be part of the Khoi-San submissions and there would be land claims that they were establishing.


Khoi-San language

The Pan-African Language Board was engaging on whether Nàmá would be the official language put forward from amongst the Khoi-San languages. Engagements were taking place to discuss whether this would be the case as the language was lost many centuries ago. The costs for this were not in the Department‘s budget because the Department partnered with the language board. Whatever was mentioned as ‘linguistic’ in the CRL budget was the linguistic rights in general but the language would be composed and engagement would happen with researchers, communities and professors who had come forward.

Khoi-San protest at the Union Building

He said that he would leave Mr Motsamai’s question. He acknowledged that they have indeed been there for a long time.


Medium-Term Strategic Framework Priorities

These priorities had been reordered by Cabinet and the DG would explain which one was now first. He said that if he was not mistaken, economic transformation was now priority number one.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi responded by saying that the DM correct and that she had read the re-ordered priorities. She thought that the DM answered most of the questions and that Members would indicate if at any point they were unhappy and the DM could submit the rest of his responses in writing as the Department’s presentation was eating into the time of the CRL Rights Commission presentation.

Director General’s responses

He said that the Department would provide a breakdown of the budget as the programme entitled ‘Administration’ did not refer to the ministry but was a number of items of corporate and financial services such as the office of the DG, monitoring and evaluation and the Office of the DM. This breakdown would be in line with questions about the compensation of employees. In part, the cost had to do with the filling of positions and building the capacity of the DMs because it was not an Office that had had all of its posts provided as they stood in the handbook.

Union Buildings protest concerns

In December 2018, the Department sent delegates to meet with the protestors and there were times when the DG personally went with the DG in the Presidency and engaged with them about the work being done on the recognition of the language the establishment of the Khoi-San Commission, among other things. The response which was received from the protestors was that they would remain at then Union Buildings until their work was fulfilled. There was a statement issued by the Presidency concerning these issues.


The DG noted the questions on the targets and said that when the Department would be able to respond them at a later time. The delegation also had the information about where the 14 pilot projects of the ARP projects were held.

Budget for the Khoi-San

The allocation under CTBLC is the allocation for litigation, last year just over R3 million was used on litigation. The balance of this will be used to establish the Commission on Khoi and San Matters. Coupled with this will be the secondment of support staff which they will be able to avail.

Traditional Councils under administration

The provision for Traditional Councils being placed under administration is in provincial legislation. Therefore, Premiers exercise the authority to place them under administration. It is a provincial responsibility. The Department do not appoint administrators nor do they spend money on the administration process.


The Department would submit the answers to most of these questions in writing. One of the things they intended to do was to host a dialogue on women in traditional leadership but this could not take place because of COVID-19.


The Department undertook to respond fully to the remaining questions in writing.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi said that there were a number of unanswered questions and asked the DG that he communicate with the Committee secretary to find out which questions remained unanswered.

Co-Chairperson Dodovu said that he was concerned about time as this presentation had taken two hours and twenty minutes. As the issues raised by the CRL Rights Commission were important, and since it was still a new commission with a much longer presentation, he asked for guidance from the Committee and Co-Chairperson Muthambi about whether they should reschedule the Commission’s presentation in order to fittingly hear and advise it around its presentation. He asked Members to make proposals.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi proposed that, for the sake of the limited time, the Members should pose questions and interact with the presentation. If the commission had not finished responding the Committee could give them a day to respond so that they could finalise the report by Friday, the 15th.

Briefing by the CRL Rights Commission on its APP and Strategic Plan

Prof. Luka David Mosoma, CRL Deputy Chairperson, said that the Commission intended to give a full presentation with key issues being imbedded. The report as it stood was divided into three parts. Part one dealt with the Strategic Plan and identified key priorities, including ensuring that the Commission had a thorough understanding of reshaping and remodelling it to do its work. He thought that the meeting should be rescheduled given the importance of the report and so the Commission could go through everything and gain advice from the Committee that would strengthen the commission. If the Committee would like, he could answer the questions sent by the Members in writing.

Co-Chairperson Dodovu asked for the Professor’s firm proposal.

Prof. Mosoma responded by saying that it was important to give sufficient time to the report and discuss the matters so that the Committee would be informed to be as effective as it can be.

Co-Chairperson Dodovu said he thought this was a fair proposal, given the available time. The Commission had not been given the prominence that it deserved, especially as it dealt with so many matters. As the Commission accounted to the Committee it needed to tell the Members more about the issues of language, religion and culture in the country. As the Professor said, he thought if the presentation was dealt with right now, it would be rushed. He would look to reschedule the briefing so the Members could find a full two-hour slot to discuss the Commission’s work in order to properly follow up what the commission was doing so that proper systems could be put in place.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi said that there was a shortage of slots. For the sake of their processes, they asked for Commission to respond to the questions that would be posed by Members.

Co-Chairperson Dodovu said that the final resolution would be determined by the next responses by Members.

Mr Mthethwa said that any progress done now would not be doing justice to the work of the commission. He supported the view that they try and get another slot as some Committees were calling off their meetings because some people were not available.

Mr B Hadebe (ANC) proposed that they find an alternative date and time and if push came to shove, they could even meet during a weekend so that they could do justice to the Commission and its work as ample time was needed.

Co-Chairperson Dodovu said that he would pursue this matter with Parliament. He added that National Council of Provinces also had a meeting to have with Department about local government and MESA. After scheduling that meeting, he would communicate with Chairperson Muthambi to find another slot for this meeting. The Commission was very important and its work needed to be elevated and treated as such.

Co-Chairperson Muthambi said that on the National Assembly side, Members had to adopt the report by Friday, and Thursday might be the only available date.

Co-Chairperson Dodovu said that he would communicate this urgency to Parliament.

The meeting was adjourned.


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