Keynote address by North West premier, at the official opening of the North West House of traditional leaders

Chairperson of the North West House of Traditional Leaders, KgosiMoshe Mabe
Deputy Chairperson of the North West House of Traditional Leaders, Kgosi Molete

The Executive Committee and Members of the North West House of Traditional Leaders
National Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Mahlangu

Your Majesties, Dikgosi le Dikgosigadi tsa rona
Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature, Hon Suzan Dantjie
MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Motlotlegi Gordon Kegakilwe
Other Members of Executive Council present
Chairperson of the Provincial Public Accounts Committee, Hon Job Dliso
Mayors Present
The Deputy Judge President of the North West Division of the High Court, Judge Hendricks

The leadership of the South African Local Government Association
Leaders of Political Parties, Community and Faith Based Organisations
Heads of Provincial Government Departments
Citizens of the North West
Distinguished guests
Members of the media

Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning.
It is with the greatest pleasure that I am standing here to address this honourable house for the first time since the ushering in of the 6th Administration; following the May 2019 National and Provincial Elections.

But I am equally overjoyed that I had the opportunity to speak to Members of this House at the end of the 5th Administration; this as a reflection of our commitment to continuously afford Bogosi the respect and dignity due to this institution of our people.

We are therefore encouraged by the leadership that is being provided by Dikgosi and the North West House of Traditional Leaders, under the leadership of Kgosi Moshe Mabe, in working with the Provincial Government to give priority to social cohesion and nation building in the Province.

Chairperson, we owe a lot of gratitude to our forebears, in particular Dikgosi, who since colonialism right through apartheid and into the democratic dispensation, for having stood against the segregation and exploitation of the disenfranchised as well as continuing to fight with side by side with us in our efforts to eradicate the triple challenges inequality, poverty and unemployment.

We are beyond humbled that institutions of traditional leadership and their constituencies are now an integral cog of our participatory democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the 2020 State of the Province Address about three weeks ago, we reported that we released the Commission reports into the Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela and Batlhako ba Leema in August and September 2019 respectively.

The process to implement the recommendations of these reports is already underway and I am pleased to announce that, as informed by the recommendations, we have appointed Mr Phineas Tjie as an
Administrator to take over the affairs of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Traditional Council; effective from 06 January 2020.
He was introduced to Bakgatla Ba Kgafela this past Friday in Mogwase and he has been given six months to implement the recommendations based on the agreed Terms of Reference and provide a report to the Premier in that regard.

We have also released the report into the succession disputes of the Bakgatla ba Mmakau and we are adhering to the recommendations of that report as well.

Chairperson, the succession dispute report of the Barolong Boo Seitshiro has been finalised and we will be releasing it in due course, as reported during the 2020 SOPA. There are delays in the work of the Commission handling the succession dispute of the Bahurutshe ba Gopane, and is most likely to ask for an extension to enable them to complete their assignment and produce a report.

Ladies and gentlemen, the matter relating to the release of the Commission Report into the affairs of the Bapo Ba Mogale I & II was interdicted last year and was heard last week in the North Gauteng High Court.

We are pleased to announce that the matter was struck from the roll with costs due to lack of jurisdiction of the said court. As a result, there is no order which prevents me to release or publish the Commission Report into the Tribal Disputes and Claims of the Bapo Ba Mogale I and II respectively; and we believe that we shall do that in due course.

Chairperson, I would like this House to take note of the fact that there is a worrying trend that, when a new Premier or Administration assumes office, disputes and claims that had been previously addressed, at times in full, by predecessors are suddenly resuscitated. In most instances, we have found that some of these cases were previously adjudicated and decided on by courts of law, commissions of inquiry and various committees put in place by the Provincial Government as directed by the law; and most are considered finalised but once a new Premier comes in, they are also brought back to life.

Chairperson, the House should therefore take note that I, like any Premier, am a successor in law and lack powers to overturn such decisions.
The only route open to such parties is to take the said cases or commissions reports on review to set them aside.

Chairperson, as announced during the 2020 SOPA, the completion and handover of Traditional Council offices of the Batlharo Ba Ga Masibi, Barolong Ba Ga Phoi and Batlhaping Ba Ga Maidi has been hampered by theft of solar panels and electricity challenges, amongst other things, and therefore has been postponed until those challenges are fully addressed.

However, we are giving these our full attention and we believe that we will be able to fulfil our commitment during this financial year. Magosi a rona ao a tlotlegang, the site handover for the construction of a new office for the Bahurutshe Ba Ga Suping Traditional Council was done on the third of this month and this project is envisaged to take ten months to complete at a cost of R25,045 million.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you might be aware by now, on 20 November last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law the Traditional KhoiSan Leadership Act, 2019 (Act No. 3 of 2019).

However, Chairperson, the President is yet to proclaim the commencement date of the Traditional KhoiSan Leadershiop Act and once it comes into operation, there are implications associated therewith
for the province and they are the following:
• The North West Traditional Leadership and Governance Act will have to be amended to ensure that both senior traditional leaders and senior KhoiSan leaders are represented in the same proportion in both the local and provincial houses of
traditional leaders;
• One of the provincial house’s representatives to the National House of Traditional Leaders must be female;
• To address the challenge of proliferation of headmen and headwomen, section 63 of Act No. 3 of 2019 enjoins provinces to conduct an investigation into the existing headmenship/headwomenship and ensure that headmen/headwomen meet the criteria for recognition in terms of sections 3, 7 and 8 of Act No. 3 of 2019;
• Section 24 regulates partnerships and agreements entered into with other parties on behalf of the traditional communities must
be:
o approved by the majority of community members,
o in the best interest of the community,
o ratified by the Premier to be of force and effect

Ladies and Gentlemen, a meeting between the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, National and Provincial Treasuries took place on 11 December last, wherein the National
Treasury and Department of Traditional Affairs were tasked to develop an Accounting Framework for traditional councils across the country.

We are awaiting further engagements on that Accounting Framework.

However, there are moves to withdraw the Traditional Councils from the existing D Account; that matter is coming before the Provincial Executive Council and we will make an announcement in due course.

Chairperson, the North West Provincial Government has heeded to your request for more capacity building in relation to the effectiveness and efficiency of Traditional Councils.

In our quest to improve records management in Traditional Councils, a file plan customised to all the Traditional Councils has been completed and will be rolled out in this financial year but in addition, copies of file plans were distributed to all sub-district offices of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs across the Province.

Magosi a rona ao a tlotlegang, we had also committed to ensuring that we improve the capacity of personnel in Traditional Councils to address issues relating to bookkeeping, accounting and financial management.

As a result, we have agreed to change job descriptions of vacant positions in Traditional Councils to attract relevant qualified staff as well as source funding to train current staff.
However, the process has been delayed by the pending finalisation of reconfiguration of Provincial Government Departments that are tasked with this function.

Chairperson, the provision of focused capacity building to improve governance, performance and accountability to the institution of traditional leadership in the North West Provincial Government was tabled and discussed at the meeting between the Executive Committee of the House of Traditional Leaders and Ikatisong School of Government in October last year.
It was resolved at that meeting that suitable capacity building interventions be developed and rolled-out as a matter of urgency.

However, the roll out was put on hold to sort out transversal contract issues. Therefore, at the end of November last year, at delegation from the Department of Traditional Affairs met with the Provincial Department of Traditional Affairs and the Ikatisong School of Government to discuss the roll out of the Skills Audit.

The National Department of Traditional Affairs commenced with its skills audit at the end of January this year; targeting both the Provincial and Local Houses of Traditional Leaders.

Chairperson, we have embarked on a process to revive and finalise the North West Initiation Schools Matters Bill, which had come before the 5th North West Provincial Legislature around 2016 but we could not see the process to its logical conclusion before the end of the electoral term of the 5th North West Provincial Legislature. The objective of the Bill, amongst others, is to strengthen law enforcement agencies to deal with the commercialisation of initiation schools, deaths of initiates, illegal initiations schools, abductions and social ills that have now come to characterise initiation schools; year in, year out.

Ladies and gentlemen, in terms of section 16 of Act No. 3 of 2019 the term of office the existing traditional councils will expire on 31 March 2022. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will issue a formula or guidelines to be used to determine the number of Traditional Council Members. The Provincial House of Traditional Leaders will be engaged in deciding as to which formula or guideline is to be used towards constituting new Traditional Councils.

Furthermore, Chairperson, we are enjoined to de-establish all community authorities within three years of the date of commencement of the Traditional KhoiSan Leadershiop Act of 2019 and the affected communities will be briefed on the matter at an appropriate time.

Magosi a rona ao a tlotlegang, our committment towards the economic uplifting and eventual emancipation of our rural communities, who mainly fall under your jurisdiction, remains intact and we are delivering on our commitment as the 6th Administration to upgrade rural gravel roads to surfaced roads so as to link and connect those communities to major economic hubs and centres in the Province and beyond.

The MEC for Public Works and Roads will, in the Department’s Budget Vote, outline our 2020/2021 plans for the upgrade of rural roads in much
detail.

Chairperson, I am very privileged and honoured to have been invited to address the Official Opening of the North West House Traditional Leaders as well as provide progress on work done by the Provincial Government on commitments we made last year to this august House; it is my sincere belief that more can be done to improve the lives of communities led by this noble institution of Traditional Leadership.

Due to the important and strategic place occupied by Dikgosi and Dikgosigadi in our history, culture, traditions, customs and folklore, this institution of our people cannot be left out of this democratic project we call South Africa – therefore, it is very key that we safeguard the survival of Bogosi beyond our living days.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the North West House of Traditional Leaders for its continued healthy working relationship with the Provincial Government and the North West Provincial Legislature;

I sincerely believe that we working together we can do more for our people.
I thank you.