South African Government

Let's grow South Africa together

Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims Announcement

19 Apr 2011

Event: Acting Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nathi Mthethwa's announcement of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims through a media briefing.
Date: Thursday, 21 April 2011
Time: 11h00 for 11h15
Venue: Ministry Boardroom, S-Floor - 87 Hamilton Street (Cnr Hamilton and Proes Streets) Arcardia in Pretoria

RSVP and indicate request for Parking :
Pumeza Tyali
Tel: 012 334 0993
Cell: 072 570 4904

Background information on the Commission:

The purpose for the establishment of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims is to restore the dignity and integrity of the traditional leaders and traditional communities and the entire institution of traditional leadership in South Africa.

The Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims (Commission) is established by the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, 2003 (Act 41 of 2003) (Framework Act). The current commission is the successor in-law of the previous commission ("Nhlapo Commission"). The Commission is required to handle all claims and disputes lodged with the previous commission; and is established in terms of section 22 of the Framework Act. The conditions of the appointment of members are determined by the Minister in terms of section 24A. 

The claims lodged with the previous commission are 1322. They must be analysed and referred to accordingly in terms of section 21 of the Framework Act (the section requires that before a claim is referred to the commission it must have been attended to by the claimant and the party in dispute or the royal family concerned, then to the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, then Premier of the province if not yet resolved, then the dispute or claim must be referred to commission). 

This commission has recommendation powers only instead of decision making powers. The powers to decide are left with government as its core competency.

Appointment of the new commission

The current commission is composed of five full time members who have been appointed after having considered their experience, skills and knowledge in the affairs of traditional leadership. The members of the commission were appointed on 1 January 2011 for a period of five years. 

In brief:

1. Previous commission

  • Not more than fifteen members, it was part time and was required to first investigate all the existing paramount and paramount chiefs and make a determination.
  • It had powers to decide and government to implement with no provision to query or ask for re-investigation into any finalised claim or dispute.

2. Current commission

  • It has five full time members.
  • It does not have decision making powers, it recommends to the President, Minister and the Premier of the province whenever a claim or dispute has been finalised.
  • It must finish all 1322 claims lodged with the previous commission.

3. Membership of the commission

  • It is composed of five well experienced members
  • They complement each other in terms of knowledge, skills and abilities
  • They have good command of languages, custom and customary law of different traditional communities within South Africa

4. Provincial committees

  • Appointed by the Premier of the province
  • Composed of members as the Premier may determine
  • Those provinces without provincial committees, their claims and disputes will be addressed by the commission
  • Their term of office is linked to the term of office of the commission

5. Mandate of the commission

  • It must investigate all claims and disputes of traditional leadership
  • It must report on quarterly basis and as and when required by the Minister, this will keep tap on the operation of the commission and its committees.
  • It must resolve all claims and disputes within five years.
  • It must have an operational plan which will act as the performance agreement between the commission and the Minister.