Traditional leaders are well-placed to ensure that the new Mining Charter is effectively implemented in their respective areas.
President Ramaphosa declared this during an address at the annual opening of the House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament.
The president added that government had committed to work with traditional leaders to ensure that “mining, firstly, does no damage, and, secondly, contributes more directly to social and economic development”.
According to the president, the mining sector can create a “woman-centered economic empowerment model that advances the economic status of women”.
“Issues around mining licences, environmental impact assessments, water use licences, surface lease agreements, social and labour plans and transformation must be enforced to the benefit of the communities in which mining operations take place,” he said.
Reference was made to the Traditional Courts Bill currently before the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services.
In August 2018, the bill was sent to the state legal advisors to include amendments recommended by the committee.
The president expressed the hope that the bill will be finalised soon.
The president also referred to the Customary Initiation Bill currently with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The proposed legislation is expected to contribute towards ending the deaths of initiates.
With regard to Communal Property Associations, the president acknowledged the concerns raised by traditional leaders on the role of associations in holding and managing land in areas falling under traditional leadership.
“We accept the broad approach that land returned to communities in such areas be held in custodianship by traditional councils on behalf of the people, this should however be balanced against the Constitutional right of individuals.”
The president also welcomed the progress made in parliament on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill.
In January 2019, the NCOP adopted the bill and returned it to the National Assembly for concurrence.
The proposed legislation will, for the first time, give statutory recognition to the Khoi-San.
“This is a development that is long overdue and is an essential step in restoring the dignity and recognising the traditions and cultures of one of South Africa’s indigenous groups.”
The president also announced that the traditional affairs department has set up a task team, including traditional leaders, to make proposals on the powers and functions of traditional leaders and any necessary amendments to legislation.