2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


OBJECTION OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS: DEMARCATION

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY CHIEF MTIRARA, MP

The objection of Traditional Leaders to the way the process of demarcation is being conducted, is supported by the United Democratic Movement. The UDM shares the feeling that Traditional Leaders were marginalised and not properly consulted. Traditional Leaders were not allowed to participate in the process of demarcation planning, because ostensibly their areas of jurisdiction overlap with other Chief's areas. It is unacceptable that in areas that are traditionally and customarily governed by Traditional Leaders, they are excluded in the planning and demarcation process.

The UDM has engaged Government regarding this issue, in the National Assembly with motions and questions to the Minister of Provincial and Local Government. Surprisingly, the Minister is passing the buck to the Chairperson of the Demarcation Board, Mr Michael Sutcliffe, who is governed by legislation and the Constitution of the Country. The Minister must take responsibility. The buck stops with him and he cannot blame officials for his Department's arrogance in dealing with this matter. 

The UDM supports the Traditional Leaders in their plan to take the issue of demarcation to the Constitutional Court. Government is pretending that there is no national crisis on this issue. There is a crisis; by tampering with traditional boundaries, areas of jurisdiction are being divided. Such a situation will harm the good relations between the political and traditional leaders of the affected areas. The current boundaries were established with the full consent of the Chiefs concerned and no conclusive evidence exist that the Chiefs were consulted in the current process of the proposed pre-determination of the boundaries. 

Government pretends as if this crisis is not happening, it forgets that the impact of the current state of affairs will cause serious tension between Government and Traditional Leaders in the run-up to the Local Government Elections. The UDM supports CONTRALESA's call that Government should discuss the issue with the relevant body and not attempt to divide and rule. 

The UDM urges President Mbeki to solve the problem by putting the demarcation process on hold and ensuring that proper consultation through the established channels do take place.

Enquiries:
Chief Zwelodumo Mtirara, MP
06 March 2000