n Journal of Public Administration - The role of traditional leadership in a developmental state : the case of greater Sekhukhune district municipality of South Africa

Volume 46, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Despite constitutional provisions for traditional leadership in South Africa, traditional leaders have not been clearly recognised since the advent of democracy in 1994. Yet centuries ago, this type of leadership served as part of the history of the natives. In underscoring governmental functions, the 1996 Constitution makes provision for the three spheres of government, namely, national, provincial and local government. However, in some provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, the king receives a substantial amount of funding from the provincial government in order to run the affairs of his kingdom. In such cases, standardised guidelines, accountability mechanisms and roles are not clearly stated for all traditional leaders in South Africa. In making sense of the role of traditional leadership in South Africa, a qualitative research in the form of focus group discussions was undertaken with the traditional leaders of the Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality. The purpose of this article is to understand the role (relevance and contribution) of traditional leadership in South Africa during the post-1994 democratic dispensation. The issues raised by these traditional leaders are that the current democratic government has reduced them to the role of preserving cultural heritage and does not include them in socioeconomic activities; hence these traditional leaders are regarded by some sections of society as irrelevant.

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