Traditional leaders


South Africa’s Constitution gives communities living under traditional law and custom the right to influence the way in which the country is run.

traditional leaders government jacob zuma
President Jacob Zuma’s Annual Address to the National House of Traditional Leaders held at Tshwane Council Chambers in Pretoria in April 2016. (Image: GovernmentZA, Flickr)

Brand South Africa reporter
Provincial houses of traditional leaders have been set up in the six provinces with traditional leadership: the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.

National and provincial houses of traditional leaders enhance the cooperative relationships within national and provincial government.

Local houses of traditional leaders deepen and cement the relationship between municipalities and traditional leaders on customary law and development initiatives.

State institutions to support constitutional democracy

Chapter 9 of South Africa’s Constitution establishes six state institutions to support democracy. Known as “chapter nine institutions”, these are:

  • The Public Protector investigates “any conduct in state affairs, or in the public administration in any sphere of government, that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice”.
  • The Human Rights Commission promotes “respect for human rights and a culture of human rights” as well as the “protection, development and attainment of human rights”.
  • The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities promotes “respect for the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities” and is tasked to “develop peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among cultural, religious and linguistic communities, on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association”.
  • The Commission for Gender Equality must “promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality”.
  • The Auditor-General must “audit and report on the accounts, financial statements and financial management of all national and provincial state departments and administrations, all municipalities, and any other institution or accounting entity”, as required by law.
  • The Electoral Commission must “manage elections of national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies in accordance with national legislation, ensure that those elections are free and fair, and declare the results of those elections”.

More information on traditional leadership can be found here:

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