n Journal of Public Administration - The paradox between local government and traditional leaders in South Africa : bridging the divide

Volume 42, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Municipal leaders (municipal managers and council members) are at loggerheads with traditional leaders to a certain extent despite the provisions of Municipal Structures Act,1998 and Municipal Systems Act, 2000 traditional leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003. The two structures have one locale and focus. They have a common home ground focusing on serving one clientele being the citizenry in their jurisdiction and their paradox is a cause for concern, as it frustrates and compromises service delivery. This article raises critical issues affecting both local government and traditional leaders. The subject was triggered by research surveys and a number of training workshops facilitated by the author. To a certain extent, the operation of the traditional leaders is not completely part of a whole local sphere of government in terms of the planning and practice. The current locale of traditional leaders under the judicial jurisdiction and management of the Office of the Premier in the Province is misplaced and lost in the loop of government leverage. Municipalities' tendency to dictate project planning and implementation without consulting traditional leaders spark tensions between the two. This article attempts to provide a possible synthesis between municipalities and traditional authorities. It also contributes in improving the literature on traditional leaders not only in Limpopo, but South Africa as a whole.

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