Chiefs refuse to join new municipalities

Time of article published Jan 25, 2001

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Traditional leaders vowed on Thursday not to participate in the new municipality structures until legislation restoring their powers was amended.

The coalition of traditional leaders rejected the request by provincial MECs for local government asking them to be part of the new structures after its technical committee meeting.

Instead it accused the government of delaying a meeting which they believed would have brought a solution to the problem.

The meeting was scheduled for January 29 followed by public hearing on January 30 and 31.

However, the government wrote a letter to traditional leaders informing them that the meeting had been postponed.

The traditional leaders are concerned that the newly demarcated municipal boundaries will infringe on their autonomy in traditional areas.

"We are not going to allow anyone to promote a situation where the role of traditional leaders remain undefined.

"The institution (of traditional leaders) has a great role to play in the development of the nation and if the government ... is committed to building up our community it has to treat traditional leaders with the seriousness that they deserve," said Patekile Holomisa, the president of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa.

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