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09 May 2003 16:47
Government sees a crucial role for traditional leaders, so it is vital they remain focused, united, and set an example to their subjects and the whole country, Deputy President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
Speaking at the opening of the Zalu Multipurpose Community Centre and the new royal chambers at Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, he said traditional leaders could greatly assist in providing sound moral leadership and unity and respect between each other.
“This will certainly go a long way towards promoting these values among all of us.”
Government fully recognised the role of traditional leadership as custodians of the moral, cultural and social systems of many in South Africa.
Government’s position was that the institution of traditional leadership occupied an important place in African life and, historically, in the body politic of South Africa.
“It has played an important role throughout the struggles of the African people in our country.
“It also embodies the preservation of culture, traditions, customs and values of the African people while also representing the early forms of societal organisation and governance,” he said.
Among the many challenges government had been faced with was the need to finalise the role and place of the institution of traditional leadership in a democratic South Africa.
“Linked to this, has been the responsibility â€¦ of restoring the dignity of all South Africans in general and Africans in particular, which was eroded by the colonial system through undermining our traditional leaders.
“I wish to reiterate that government sees traditional leaders as partners in efforts of uplifting the conditions that our people in rural areas live in.
“Our drive to promote the participation of all South Africans in our efforts to change their lives, especially in rural areas will be more successful if this partnership worked accordingly,” Zuma said.
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