Traditional leaders vow to defy government over new land law
Angry traditional leaders have dared the government to arrest them and have vowed to defy the newly enacted Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (Spluma), which they say does not recognise them as traditional leaders and landowners.
Members of the National House of Traditional Leaders were addressing Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti about the legislation, which came into effect on July 1.
Spluma is the legislation for all spatial planning and land-use management in South Africa.
Nkwinti had earlier addressed the traditional leaders on the new legislation as well as exceptions to the 1913 Natives Land Act cut-off date in parliament yesterday.
"With this act, abakhosi are very angry. They are very angry and we were praying that the minister will give us an explanation that we can understand," said deputy chairman of the National House of Traditional Leaders Sipho Mahlangu,
"We don't want ourselves fighting with our own government. We plead with the minister to suspend the implementation until amendments are made."
Mahlangu said the act gives sole discretion to the municipality on who gets to sit on municipal planning tribunals - even on communal land. Mathibela Mokoena from the Mpumalanga house of traditional leaders said it would be impossible to implement the law.
"This so-called Spluma must be suspended [and] the implementation thereof . The same government banned us as amakhosi and our people from carrying our weapons. Guess what? We are defying them. We carry those weapons with pride, [we] don't care who says what.
"Municipalities are so excited now they are saying 'we've got them'. Let them come and arrest us. Let them come and arrest us, we will show them exactly who we are because we've been so kind and nice as amakhosi ." he said.
Nkwinti told the chiefs they were the "de facto owners" of traditional land and should be consulted. "We can't do anything without consulting. The law started on July 1 and that law is your law as well and not only the municipalities' because you are the de facto owners of the land."
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.