Makwetla gives R17m to village headmen

Sakhile Mokoena

Sakhile Mokoena

Mpumalanga has budgeted more than R17million for salaries of village headmen and a further R6million for the establishment of traditional councils in the province.

Premier Thabang Makwetla last week told a sitting of the provincial house of traditional leaders that village headmen would now be paid.

"The government has allocated R17417000 over the medium term expenditure framework period to provide for the recognition of our headmen.

"This will enable us to begin to pay allowances to our traditional leaders at village level," Makwetla said.

He said the government recognised the role of traditional leaders in developing communities under their jurisdiction and it was important to support traditional leadership to strengthen the local government system.

"Our commitment to supporting the institution of traditional leadership in our democratic system of governance is unwavering."

In the 2007-08 financial year, provincial government will conclude the process of transforming the Mpumalanga house of traditional leaders to assume its autonomous status as a legislative entity to enhance its performance of the oversight role in terms of the legislation.

"In consultation with the chairman, we have already identified the building that will house the provincial house of traditional leaders.

"Within two months, members of the house will move to their new premises," said Makwetla.

He said traditional leaders were key development partners in the design and implementation of programmes aimed at dealing with poverty and underdevelopment in areas under traditional leadership jurisdiction.

Work on the establishment of traditional councils in line with the constitution as well as the national framework on traditional leadership is at an advanced stage.

Draft guidelines have been tabled and processes of consultation with all stakeholders as well as traditional leaders would soon begin in earnest in Mpumalanga, he said.