Back to top

The relationship between traditional leadership and local government on land allocation: A case of the Thulamela Local Municipality

Traditional leadership and local government are expected to provide co-leadership in same areas of jurisdiction, in South Africa, without much guidance on how that should be done. As a result, there is constant tension in the relationship and questioning between the two centers of power; tensions, such as those that largely exist around issues of land allocation and ownership. This study was aimed at exploring the relationship between traditional leadership and local government with regards to land allocation in the Thulamela local municipality. The study adopted a descriptive as well as an exploratory qualitative design. A total of 27 participants were involved in the study, namely, traditional leaders (14), municipal officials (03) who work on land issues and community members (10). Purposive and snowball sampling methods were employed to identify the (27) study participants, who were both male and female and the collected data was thematically analyzed. The findings of the study indicate that the relationship between traditional leadership and local government on land allocation in the Thulamela local municipality is largely conflictual rather than complementary. The conflictual relations partly emanate from the lack of clarification regarding each group’s distinctive roles regarding land allocation. The actions and or inactions of both parties could be attributed to the exercise of power and privileges of one over the other. Furthermore, the application and or disregard of the law is closely linked to interpretations and biases closely linked to the perceptions of powers and privileges. Traditional leaders seem to be the hardest hit, resulting in the blurring of their roles. I recommend establishment of clear and definitive roles for both institutions of leadership which must play a decisive role in land allocation. The study also recommends that there should be an introduction and facilitation of educational programs on land matters, to improve the relations between traditional leaders and local government.
Keywords: Relationship, traditional leadership, local government, land allocation, interplay, conflictual, complementary, land, indigenous knowledge, land access, Thulamela municipality.

Full Name
Dr Tshimangadzo Justice Makhanikhe