Presentation by the Mpumalanga House of Traditional Leaders to the Portfolio Committee on Land Affairs: 19 February 1998

The Traditional Leaders of Mpumalanga Province, welcome this chance accorded to them by the Portfolio Committee on Land Affairs and therefore wish to put the following across.

2.1 State land or Public Land
Traditional Leaders in Mpumalanga include Izingwenyame, Amakhosi, Amakhosana and Izinduna. Their sentiments is that they must be the Custodians of tribal land which is termed state land, which they so faithfully held in trust for so many decades.

An undertaking by Government to transfer land ownership to the institutions of Traditional Leadership is eagerly awaited. It is a known fact that Traditional Leaders always make their important decision in Council and is always unlikely that they can make blanders.

Traditional Leaders remain responsible, committed and accountable to their people not for a certain period or term of Office, but for the rest of their lives.

It is, however, our humble submission that Government should assist the Traditional Authorities and play a role in planning and subdivision of the land and ensuring that appropriate land is used for agriculture, commercial and residential purposes.

2.2 Land Tenure System
Traditional Leaders in Mpumalanga Province together with their people, are advocating for Communal Land Tenure System in their Traditional areas, to be applied and continued.

Applying, our customs correctly, that of collective leadership, collective ownership, collective responsibility and accountability, it is very rare that you can find homelessness, starvation or hunger, street children, high rate of crime and other social problems in our Traditional Areas.

Traditional Leaders in Mpumalanga Province, however, feel that it would be important to have land set aside for individual ownership and for those who are really not the poor of the poorest.

2.3 Women Discrimination
We would like to confirm that in our Traditional areas in Mpumalanga, the discrimination against women is not practised, women are allowed to have access to land, for agricultural, residential as well as business purposes. We have a lot of business women and farmers in our Traditional areas.

2.4 Restitution and Redistribution
When the land is finally in the hands and control of the rightful owners it will be in the hands of our beloved Kings, Amakhosi or in a collective name, in the hands of Traditional Authorities and their people. Any endeavour towards this goal is heartily supported, and shall always be supported.

Traditional Leaders in South Africa, and their people, were once called Caffirs, Natives, Bantus, Africans and now Blacks, but they never perished. Now that their land is governed by their people for their people, they hope for prosperity.