Cape Town - The devastating floods sweeping across parts of the country are to be felt especially in rural areas where the infrastructure is poor, President Cyril Ramaphosa told traditional leaders.
He was speaking at the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders and Khoi and San Leaders at the National Council of Provinces.
Ramaphosa said the devastating effects of the floods will be felt more in these areas because the infrastructure is not well-geared to sustain plants.
Ramaphosa urged leaders to use their platform to debate issues around poverty, women empowerment, gender-based violence, initiation schools, the devastating impact of Covid-19, and devastating floods.
Ramaphosa told traditional leaders that they assume office at a time when the country faces several crises.
“We see this house as an important platform to address these challenges, now and into the future,” Ramaphosa said.
He suggested that communal land should be used as leverage for capital to support investment in community development.
Ramaphosa said government had made strides in creating a sound legal basis for the institution of traditional and Khoi-San leadership to work.
He referred to the much-criticised Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act, which he signed into law in 2019, and said to empower this piece of legislation, government had appointed a Commission on Khoi-San Matters.
On Thursday morning, Constitutional Court was hearing an application against the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act.
Ramaphosa said Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA president Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena had met him and comprehensively detailed issues of concern for traditional leaders, including a lack of payments to headmen and women, land, tools of trade and infrastructure development.
He said Deputy President David Mabuza leads a task team which is dealing with the issues.
Ramaphosa urged traditional leaders to do something about boys who undergo the initiation rite of passage, and see to it that they return to their homes alive.
He stressed the importance of culture, but said it shouldn’t promote hate and patriarchy.