QADI TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY
Qadi Traditional Area: Tongaat Ward: May 18, 2001
I thank you for the privilege to attend and officiate on this occasion as we gather to open the Qadi Traditional Authority Community Development Programme in the Qadi Traditional Area which includes this Hall and other projects that we are opening today. The activities towards development which have been taking place in this region have generated tremendous excitement, and I am pleased to be able to share this emotion with the Qadi Clan today. It is indeed inspiring to see the unfolding of this region’s potentials through a plan which is both visionary and interactive, for this project has involved and continues to involve many of the members of this clan. As we launch the Qadi Development projects including this Tongaat Ward today, I wish to give praise where praise is due, and applaud the leadership of Inkosi M.A. Ngcobo which has driven this programme of development within one of our country’s poorest communities.
When I consider the unprecedented obstacles to this region’s success, when I see the poverty and dire need of its people, we all feel challenged to do yet more for the plight of our people. When I witness the successful completion of projects such as those we open here today, I am deeply encouraged and stand in awe at the contrast between the circumstances and the spirit of this people. It is true that in this region, like all our other rural areas, the poorest of the poor may be found, yet it is equally true that here the richness of goodwill, the strength of determination and the power of community are also clearly visible. I believe that much may be achieved when the will of the people is for prosperity and when the leadership of the people is pursuing that end.
A trusted leadership is irreplaceable. Indeed, the success of these community endeavours has depended on the role played by its traditional authority. In this region, the traditional authority has proven itself capable of delivering and has worked hand in hand with its people to bring development, upliftment and improved conditions. The dialogue between the Indunas and their people is long established and there is clear agreement on what is needed and what must be done. No one has told this community what it needs and no one has just given it something. There has been collegial consultation during which the participants spoke the same language of common experience, long-standing trust and a shared commitment to the good of the community.
Living up to the standard of generations, Inkosi M.A. Ngcobo is dedicated to excellence in leadership. One need look no further than the multiple streams of development taking place in this ward to confirm such a claim. Inkosi Ngcobo gives us the example of commitment to serving and of focussed ambition which relentlessly pursues a better quality of life for all. He has been committed to this task for almost half a century, during which time he and I have worked towards the same goal of genuine liberation in all its aspects. As Chief Minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu Government, I had the honour of working closely with my colleague when he held the position of Minister of the Department of Works. Indeed, on an occasion such as this, we may look down the corridors of time to see that community development has been the agenda of this ward’s Indunas for many generations.
As Ministers together in the KwaZulu Government we promoted the development of our people with our people. We built schools with money that the people paid and our Government would pay a rand for a rand for these schools. We built clinics and constructed roads and we were in charge of all aspects of our people’s development at local level as the primary local government in our traditional areas.
The tangible achievements of the development programme we celebrate today are the culmination of a long history of hard work, careful planning, vision, community participation and sound, trusted leadership ability. Today’s event is not a political point scoring project, nor is it the short-lived result of a handout
What has been achieved for this community has been secured from within this community. The funding for the development programme came from compensation received by the Qadi Traditional Authority in the early nineties for land which was expropriated for the construction of the iNanda Dam. This money, amounting to R5.6 million, was set aside for community development, and it has been used for community development.
The following projects are being financed from this fund. A study was conducted by Terraplan Associates in May 1995 which proved the land along the iNanda Dam basin to be suitable for extensive agricultural purposes. The Department of Water Affairs was approached for utilising dam water for irrigation purposes.
Most of the Qadi subjects are unemployed because the Unicity of Durban cannot offerany additional job opportunities. Because of the aforementioned points the Qadi Traditional Authority, working together with the local Department of Agriculture decided to embark on a food production scheme in order to:
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R300,000.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R277,020.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R244,970.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R241,795.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R237,751.95
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R274,035.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R237,955.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R182,523.30
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R245,060.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R271,000.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R244,000.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R367,000.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R250,000.00
WARD TOTAL EXPENDITURE : R244,000.00
TOTAL : R200,000.00
TOTAL PROJECTS EXPENDITURE - R3,823,110.20
Towards this end, the Qadi Development Finance Committee was established, which has admirably performed its function of identifying and prioritising the needs in the 14 Qadi wards and driving these community projects which worked in consultation with Local Development Committees, while stimulating job creation. The community hall and administrative offices of the Qadi Traditional Authority in Tongaat are opened today in response to the need of making the Authority immediately accessible to the people it serves. Moreover, this community hall will serve a variety of purposes in order to generate further funds to build on what has already been achieved. I believe that all this is part of a most commendable endeavour.
I am revisiting the history of this programme and declaring my support for it because I believe that what is happening in Tongaat is a clear indication that the Qadi Clan has a leadership it trusts, a leadership that works and a leadership that delivers. Throughout South Africa, countless traditional communities have shared this experience for many years. We know our traditional leaders. Our fathers knew them and our grandfathers knew them. We have always worked in close cooperation with our traditional leaders, seeking for our communities the collegial wisdom facilitated by the amaKhosi. For years, they have been the engines of delivery, promoting development, development, development. We value our amaKhosi simply because we understand that the role they perform is the essential factor in the unity, prosperity and future development of our communities.
We have obtained this knowledge through hundreds of years of experience. Through the apartheid years when our people were treated as subhuman, we maintained the traditional structure of our community life, preserving the essence of our Africanness, and determined to proudly live as we had always lived; upholding our unity, maintaining our dignity and respecting the role of our amaKhosi. Throughout the liberation struggle we sacrificed and worked with blood and sweat to secure the rebirth of a country in which all South Africans could take up their rightful place as fully enfranchised citizens, in order to participate in the task of developing and uplifting the quality of life for our people. We did not engage a past struggle merely to obtain the vote. We engaged a struggle which continues to this day to reclaim the dignity of our way of life in order that our traditional authorities may receive the support and resources they require to lead us as they always have.
Yet a terrible and almost inconceivable thing has happened. Rather than allowing the people to be governed by their chosen leaders, the victory of a democratic government has brought a new system which is trying to replace and wipe out our known way of life. Although the cry of South Africa’s Government is for an African Renaissance, a process has been set in motion which, unless halted, will destroy a truly African way of life. The establishment of municipalities across South Africa has created a clash with the powers and functions of traditional authorities which sees municipalities receiving and administering the powers and role of amaKhosi. This has not been done with the democratic consent of the people. It has not been done in consultation with traditional authorities. It cannot even be justified by saying it is a better way, because it is not better to disrupt the programmes of development already in place, such as that we celebrate today, nor to take away the power of our leaders to lead. A well-known principle of education is FROM THE KNOWN TO THE UNKNOWN. What is done now ignores this principle even on this important programme of an African Renaissance.
AmaKhosi are being emasculated and we have fought long and hard to ensure that this does not happen. Throughout our fight we have received promises and assurances without substance, and have been strung along in a politically spineless process meant to keep us at arm’s length, with our hands tied and our mouths gagged. The clash of powers and functions between municipalities and traditional authorities exists. Government has admitted they see it. Words have been thrown around about ceremonial functions, constitutionally eroded powers and interim solutions which do not lead to final solutions. We were told that the institution of amaKhosi would be respected, but instead it is laughed at.
The reality is, municipalities have now been established and no interim measure was put in place to preserve the powers of traditional authorities. Traditional leaders received the assurance of President Mbeki that such measures would be put in place, but they were not. A year ago, traditional leaders received the President’s assurance that the Constitution would be amended to ensure that the role, powers and functions of amaKhosi would not be diminished nor eroded. But no constitutional amendment followed. Time and again, traditional leaders pleaded with government to address this grave concern, for we know it will have serious repercussions for the development and stability of the whole of South Africa. The Coalition of Traditional Leaders stood in unanimous agreement that something had to be done. But nothing happened.
Most recently the Coalition received a Bill titled "Legislation aimed at addressing, on an interim basis, concerns of traditional leaders". This Bill was put forward by the Minister for Provincial and Local Government and was a slap in the face for all amaKhosi. It does not address the real issues nor does it supply any solution, in spite of the promises made by the President. It seems that, by one administration, we were treated as subhuman. But by its successor, we are treated as fools. Amakhosi have been categorised as ceremonial figures, as though they are only good to be brought out to liven things up when tourists come to visit and to get the cameras flashing for a genuine African experience. The irony is that there will be no genuine African experience if the heart of African tradition is slaughtered. If I am being too hard or speaking too brazenly, I cannot apologise. My people are having their identity stolen and the course towards genuine liberation and development is being devastatingly altered.
The Coalition of Traditional Leaders gave a written response to the Bill on April 9, expressing its failure to address the problem and rejecting its insulting proposals. As yet, no alternative nor reply has been received and still the question hangs in the balance: Will the word of the President be honoured? Our celebration today is a clear indication that things are working. Why fix something which is not broken? There is no evidence that delivery will improve if we throw out a known quantity and accept the leadership of unknowns. What we do know, is that traditional authorities are working for the development of their people. They are serving and leading, and bringing tangible results. They are experienced and established in their communities. It is to our amaKhosi that the support and resources must be given to empower their leadership for development. I understand that the Unicity of Durban could not offer additional job opportunities, but the Qadi Traditional Authority launched a food production scheme. Let us empower those who are best able to lead us out of poverty.
In this place, at this time, on this occasion, we have proven the viability of an institution which can deliver. It delivered with very little resources, and one can but imagine what it could achieve if the resources which will soon be available to municipalities were to be channelled into it. Today, this community stands tall as a monument to its own achievements and to the achievements of traditional leadership. The needs of this community are still vast and unfulfilled. However, today we celebrate our willingness and ability to turn things around and bring about a new beginning in which things can change because people wish them to change. I believe that people have the power to make tomorrow a better day than today and to bring about tangible improvement in their life conditions through their own efforts and dedication.
I urge the people of this community to find such power within yourselves. I urge you to rise and act, to rise and develop, to rise and work to improve on your daily lives. We cannot allow adverse circumstances to overwhelm us. Today we have seen a continuation of the improvement of the plight of this community. Let this beginning spread like a wildfire in a new spirit of goodwill which generates even further efforts through which ordinary people may contribute to the struggle for development, development, development. Let the Qadi Clan not rest here. I urge all leaders of this region to identify a new development which can now be nourished from beginning to end. No matter how small, there are plenty of projects for which each leader should be responsible.
Likewise, I urge each family of this region to identify, nourish and develop one project which they can accomplish between now and the end of the year. No matter how small, there must be a project which can be brought about in each household through personal effort and which can make tomorrow a better day than today, whether this is mending a fence or spending an extra hour with their child to make him happier and improve his understanding of the world around him. Through our efforts we can power our struggle for development, development, development with the engine of our revolution of goodwill. Let us build development from the goodwill which begins within our communities, and proceeds from our desire to stand up to the adverse conditions of our lives. Let us truly make tomorrow a better day than today. With the help of God, let this be our constant endeavour.