National House of Traditional Leaders (hereinafter referred to as the NHTL) has clearly defined vision and mission.


"To be an institution that ensures efficient leadership and service delivery by all statutory traditional leadership structures".


"Representing the aspirations of traditional communities by playing a meaningful role n cooperative governance".


The core mandate of the NHTL is contained in section 212 in Chapter 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

Further, the NHTL draws its mandate from policy pronouncements by National Government and from legislation, inter alia:

In of its objects and functions the NHTL may:

arts and culture
land administration,
the administration of justice,
safety and security,
the registration of births, deaths and customary marriages,

economic development
environment, tourism,
disaster management,
the management of natural resources, and the dissemination of information relating to government policies and programmes.


The NHTL prides itself for adhering to its adopted values and strategic goals, which appear hereunder:


1 Adaptability : Being flexible and changing in response to new circumstances

2. Autonomy :Being independent and free to act.

3. Co-operation : Being co-operative and working well with others.

4. Customer :Orientation Customer satisfaction is always placed first.

5. Initiative : Seizing opportunity and taking responsibility without hesitation.

6. Openness : Being straightforward, sincere, and candid in discussions.

7. Participation : Involvement of everyone concerned prior to making a decision.

8. Excellence : Continuous improvement in performance and standards

9. Broadmindedness : Accepting different viewpoints and opinions

10.Economy : Being thrifty and careful in spending.



April 2004: Took part in the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, Union Buildings, Pretoria

Participated in the draft policy framework for the prevention and management of child abuse, neglect and exploitation championed by the Social Development Department.

May 2004:
Organised the Traditional Initiation Schools Conference

June 2004:
Inkosi Mzimela on behalf of the NHTL addressed the KwaZulu Regional Christian Council on African Models of Governance.


July 2004: Signing of a memorandum of understanding with the National Prosecuting Authority, in an effort to contribute to the fight against women and child abuse

August 2004:
Hosted the celebration of Women's Day in honour of our Queens and Princesses

September 2004:
Participated in Heritage Day activities that took place all over the country, including Kimberly in Northern Cape and Stanger in KwaZulu Natal

Initiated a meeting with the South African Council of Churches (SACC) to discuss issues of common concern

Participated in a joint forum for policy on Ageing regarding the Older Persons Bill, championed by the Department of Social Development


October2OO4: Participated in the Provincial Men's Summit held in Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape

November 2004:
Co-hosted a discussion session with the African Cultural Heritage Trust (ACHT) addressed by His Holiness, Dalai Lama concerning Ubuntu in terms of Buddhism

Hosted the Pan African Festival Conference (PANAFEST), attended by traditional leaders from the rest of Africa in an effort to pave the way for the establishment of the Continental House of Traditional Leaders of Africa (COHTLA)

December 2004:
Completed training of traditional leaders by the Justice College on the administration of justice.

Participated in the Legal Aid Board's Human Rights Social Marketing Forum with the purpose of ensuring that human rights are incorporated into community development


January 2005: Training of NHTL members on use of computers and protocol

Submission to the Social Development Portfolio Committee on Children's Bill, 2005

February 2005:
Hosted the Tradition, Customs and Culture committee Forum, that was formed with Provincial Houses, to discuss challenges faced by our cultures and traditions

Completed Public Hearings on the issue of same sex Marriages

Submission to the Department of Social Development on service delivery model for developmental social services

Submission to the Department of Social Development on Policy Framework for Orphans and other Children made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS

Participated in a conference on a New Decade of Criminal Justice in South Africa-"Consolidating

Transformation" organised by Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Cape Town

Participated in the KwaZulu Natal Language Indaba organised by the provincial Department of Arts and Culture

March 2005:
In collaboration with the Department of Social Development', the NHTL hosted a conference for Queens and Princesses in an effort to pave way for their participation in service delivery

Commenced with visits to SADC countries to lobby support for the establishment of the Continental House of Traditional Leaders of Africa (COHTLA).

Had a briefing session with the South African Police Services on the implications of the Gun Law Act 2000 as amended.

Attended the Zimbabwean Parliamentary Elections held on the 31~ of March 2005, as part of the international observer mission.



National House of Traditional Leaders has undertaken a number of activities during the year under review, utilising the budget of R6 788 000, allocated to it last year. These activities range from the functions the House has to discharge, which are inward looking or in-house in nature, to those activities involving others which cover the country in its entirety, as well as those relating to engagements beyond the country.


NHTL holds four sittings a year. In order to streamline activities with the Provincial Houses, the NHTL formed a Chairpersons Forum headed by its Chairperson. The secretaries' Forum, which is the structure that is assigned with preparing agenda items for the Chairpersons Forum, precedes the meetings of Chairpersons' Forum.

The NHTL also held provincial public hearings with the aim of developing a ~05 ion paper on the question of same-sex marriages. The road shows culminated in extensive engagements with rural people and the information gathered will assist in developing a position paper that will cover the feelings and concerns of the rural communities. As a cultural institution, the NHTL has a duty to take stand on all matters pertaining to cultural life amongst communities.

The NHTL organised a week long Panafest (Pan African Festival) Conference of Traditional Leaders with the aim of implementing the resolution that was taken in ~a in 2001 regarding the formation of the Continental House of Traditional Leaders of Africa, which will play a pivotal role in unifying the institution of Traditional leadership across the globe and act as a vehicle in participating and ting in rural developmental projects world-wide. This envisaged structure will resemble the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in its role and functional responsibilities. We also envisaged the signing of a formal memorandum of understanding with the Nepad Secretariat including African Union's (Ecosocc) Economic, Social and Cultural Council). In our, discussions experts from the d Secretariat endorsed the pivotal role to be played by the institution of Traditional leadership in Nepad programmes and AU structures.

Consequently, the NHTL through the office of the Chairperson is visiting foreign embassies in order to obtain political buy-in and to secure the support of traditional leaders continentally.

PANAFEST: is the Ghanaian Forum of assembling African brothers and sisters the Diaspora on a week long traditional celebrations and performing of traditional rites coupled with a conference where national and international dignitaries share their experiences on common understanding and solution rig mechanism for a better African Continent. Consequently, Ghana will hold PANAFEST during July and August 2005, Cape Coast, Ghana.

At the level of the committees, the NHTL disseminates information and advice to Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders so as to streamline the activities of constitution of traditional leadership in all spheres. A working arrangement is being mooted in this regard which will culminate in the formation of committee's forum among other structures

Through its committees and the full-time members, the NHTL has embarked on outreach programme by having and maintaining dialogue with other stakeholders. In its endeavour to promote the institution of traditional leadership, NHTL works closely with various government departments on programme implementation regarding the rural projects and related matters. As a result, the NHTL signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) with the sole aim of maintaining and contributing towards law enforcement. Furthermore, a working relationship has been ) established with the South African Law Reform Commission on the role of traditional courts in upholding justice in rural communities. The NHTL is also serving in the South African National Aids Council, through representation by its person, and is also working closely with the National Department of Social Department on HIVIAIDS related issues including the National Department of Health.

The NHTL jointly with the National Department of Social Development, held a national conference with the queens and wives of traditional leaders. The purpose of this conference was to call for the support of the queens and wives of traditional leaders regarding the distribution of social benefits and the implementation of rural developmental projects.

The NHTL had a briefing session with the South African Police Services (SAPS). ) The SAP'S Gun Law Act, 2000, outlaws the possession of unlawful firearms and calls for the hand over of unlicensed firearms to the state machinery. It became apparently clear that the rural communities are not aware of the existence of this vital piece of legislation as a result of which they can be easily found to be on the wrong side of the law unintentionally. A working arrangement with the SAPS is being debated that will also include measures pertaining to rural safety and crime free South Africa.

The House also undertook a trip to Zimbabwe on invitation by the Zimbabwean Government to assess the land redistribution process and other related matters fact-finding mission was in all respects accomplished.

It also attended the Zimbabwean Parliamentary Elections held on the 31st of March 2005. as part of the international observer mission. In their assessment voting was peaceful and violence free, which culminated to the conclusion the elections were, free and fair.


The NHTL will embark on continent-wide visits/tours regarding the establishment of the Continental House of Traditional Leaders of Africa.

A position paper will be developed on the impact of the same-sex marriages. NHTL will continue to embark on the process of securing a Chamber for the proper execution of its duties. As we speak, the NHTL holds its businesses in HoteIs. The NHTL appreciates the statement made by the Portfolio Committee on 2004/05 budget to the effect that, although it had no authority to respond to question of securing the Chamber for the NHTL, it will nonetheless raise this matter with the office of the Speaker of Parliament.

The NHTL is looking forward to having a dialogue with the Portfolio Committee on matters relating to the functioning of the NHTL. The NHTL is in urgent need of personnel, a fact made more urgent by the Framework Act, 41 of 2003, which provides for the referral of Parliamentary Bills to the NHTL. Seven (7) personnel are employed, three (3) administration assistants are employed on a monthly renewable contract, whilst other four (4) staff members are employed on a three year renewable contract. The current organogram of the NHTL appears under ten item hereunder, for your consideration.

The NHTL will try to secure a dialogue with the Presidency on the implications of Chapter 7 and Chapter 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Traditional Leaders feel that the

provisions of Chapter 7 of the Constitution have compromised their functional responsibilities. The NHTL also made a submission or the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill, 2005. During public Hearings, a constitutional amendment proposal was made, once more.

The NHTL is also co chairing the Coalition of Traditional Leaders, whose duty is to advance the role of the institution of traditional leadership in local government. Co operative governance issues are being debated with the municipal structures in order to ensure speedy delivery of services to the rural communities. The Coalition of Traditional Leaders is made up of the NHTL, Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Nation respectively.


Appearing hereunder is the current organisational structure of the NHTL:













This report demonstrates that the NHTL is committed to its statutory mandate. However there are a number of issues which impact on its effectiveness. The NHTL wilt continue to engage the Portfolio Committee with 3 view to reaching a resolution on these matters.


The National House of Traditional Leaders was established by section 2 of the national House of Traditional Leaders Act No.10 of 1997. The Act came into operation on the 11th of April 1997. The House was inaugurated on 17 April 1997. Section 10 of the Act defines the objects and functions of the National House, as follows:

(1) The objects of the National House shall be-


(a) to promote the role of traditional leadership within a democratic constitutional dispensation;

(b) to enhance unity and understanding among traditional communities; and

(c) to enhance co-operation between the National House and the various Provincial Houses with a view to addressing matters of common interest.

(2) The National House-

(a) may advise the national government and make recommendations relating to any of the following:

i. Matters relating to traditional leadership;

ii. the role of traditional leaders;

III. customary law; and

iv. the customs of communities observing a system of customary law;

(b) may investigate and make available information on traditional leadership, traditional authorities, customary law and customs;

(c) shall, at the request of the President, advise him or her in connection with any matter referred to in this section; and

(d) shall present an annual report to Parliament.".

It is clear from these provisions that the role of the National House can be classified or categorised as follows:

(a) a promotional and advocacy role;

(b) a liaison and unifying role;

(c) a facilitator role;

(d) an advisory role;

(e) an investigative role;

(f) a research - related role relating to the sharing of information;

(g) an advisory role linked to the President; and

(h) a reporting role.

There are a number of other ancillary roles which the National House plays. These include attendance at important national functions or workshops, assisting e government with the implementation of its programmes, as well as interaction with traditional leaders in Africa in line with the African Renaissance Programme, to cite but a few.

must also be emphasised that this delineation of the responsibilities of the National House entails that the House must also focus on implementation. Also, must be mentioned that the President, in 2003, directed the National House to let involved in the major development programmes being implemented in rural areas. These include the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme md the Extended Public Works Programme, amongst others. This is in line with ,e provisions of the White Paper on Traditional Leadership and Governance which calls for the involvement of traditional leaders, generally, in the development of their communities. This entails that the National House has to interact with government at all levels. The National House will, therefore, also have to interact with various Portfolio and Select Committees in Parliament. interaction with Parliament has been further strengthened by the introduction of section 18 of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act No.41 2003, which provides for the referral of Bills to the National House. However, 0 bills have been referred to the House yet in terms of this provision.

It is also important to note that the issues which the National House is entrusted with, focus primarily on traditional communities, customary law and customs, culture and tradition, socio-economic development, governance, traditional leadership, nation building, service delivery and the social cohesiveness of communities.

An analysis of the above leads to the conclusion that:

(a) the National House cannot discharge its mandate fully on its own. It must build co-operative relations and partnerships with a number of strategic partners within and outside government;

(b) the National House must complement and support the work of government at all levels;

(c) Parliament must ensure that the National House is properly empowered to discharge its statutory responsibilities;

(d) the National House and the government must reach agreement on, and design a clear plan for, the implementation of the White Paper on Traditional Leadership and Governance, and Act 41 of 2003;

(e) the support which is required from government to ensure that the National House becomes fully operational, and is placed in a position where it can fully discharge its mandate, must be defined in explicit terms by the government, with Parliament playing a supportive role in this regard.



It is within this context that the challenges confronting the National House should defined and understood. The National House is still, after eight years since inauguration, not functioning the way it should. Thus the issues listed under to (e) above should be addressed as a mailer of urgency by Parliament.

When analysing this plea, it must be borne in mind that one is here dealing with statutory body recognised by the Constitution, and having a responsibility to port yearly to Parliament. The National House will, otherwise, not be able to discharge its statutory mandate fully. We urgently require that a chamber and offices be established for the House in line with the agreement with the President 2003, that more personnel who will support the House be employed, and that the budget of the National House be increased.

Later this year we will present you with more detailed proposals regarding our activities for the next three years. These will include the designation of additional embers as full-time members. Presently, only two members serve in a full-time capacity. This limits the efficiency of the National House.

On the 17th of June 2004, the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Provincial and Local Government on Budget Vote 5 : Provincial and Local Government, was finalised It identified a number of challenges which the National House had to address. The National House initiated a number of processes to address the sues which the Portfolio Committee had raised. These processes commenced n the 11th of August 2004 and are in varying stages of completion. These will alternate with the presentation of our plans for the next three years to the portfolio Committee later this year. The plan will be a refined and updated version of the Strategic Plan attached to the Annual Report of 2003 I 2004, which was tabled last year.

The main activities which were undertaken during the 2004/2005 financial year appear hereunder. They are not detailed; but will assist the Portfolio Committee ~ evaluating the 2005/2006 Budget Proposals. A more detailed Annual Report will be presented in September 2005.

This report will be considered by the Portfolio Committee, shortly after the President has delivered his annual address to the House on the 7th of April 2005. he address by the President will be debated in his presence at a later date still o be determined. We thank the President, the Deputy President, the Minister for Provincial and Local Government and other Ministers who have interacted with 3rd supported the House.

On a sad note, it must be reported that the NHTL, lost its CEO, Mr Malungisa Elliot Gobe, who died whilst on an official visit to Zimbabwe on 2 March 2005. It must be mentioned that the Zimbabwean Government expressed its sympathy and offered assistance during the burial process. The Deputy Minister of Public Works, National Housing, Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Chief FZ Charumbira headed the delegation who attended the funeral held on 12 March 2005, at kwa Banzi in Xesi, Eastern Cape.