Leaders also want a detailed plan of action for the implementation of the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act to be tabled.
“The president needs to encourage our deputy minister to arrange a round table discussion with all deputy ministers of the economic cluster to receive and discuss the Invest Rural approach before tabling it to the ministers.”
In response, in acknowledging their concerns, Ramaphosa said it was the responsibility of the government to create an enabling environment in which traditional leaders could play their role in their communities.
Ramaphosa said the country was emerging from the worst crisis in modern times.
“The [Covid-19] pandemic has highlighted once again the vast disparities between urban and rural dwellers with regards to health care, basic services and social support.”
Ramaphosa said it was everyone’s responsibility to drive the economic reconstruction and recovery plan announced in October last year.
“As has been articulated in this house today, traditional leaders must not be bystanders to this process. Nothing must take place about you, without you. Nobody must be left behind.”
He urged traditional leaders to be deeply involved in the implementation of the District Development Model.
“This is an integrated approach that seeks to ensure the development of different areas in our country, urban and rural, with all key role players working together. I am concerned by the reports presented here that there are areas where traditional leaders have not been included in this process.”
He told traditional leaders that they had the responsibility to bridge the urban-rural divide which was perpetuating inequalities in society.
“There is not a single traditional leader in this house who is not aware of the crisis in their communities caused by mass migration to the cities. Our rural areas must become centres of economic activity, of industry and of employment opportunity. As a number of speakers in this debate have said, our rural communities want to be self-sufficient. As traditional leaders you understand the aspirations of our people to do things for themselves.”
He said the government has prioritised rural infrastructure development to make these areas attractive for investment.
“Our economic recovery must also involve the development of local production and industrialisation. This must happen in rural and underdeveloped areas if it is going to benefit all South Africans.”
For SA to achieve its rural development goals, Ramaphosa said, rural communities needed to have land and must have the resources and capabilities to work this land.
“We applaud those traditional leaders who have been supporting land restitution and redistribution. Since 2018 about 1.5 million hectares of communal land has been availed by traditional leaders and I want to call on you to work with the department to avail more land for development and beneficiation.”