The role of democratically elected coucillors and traditional leaders in service delivery : the case of Ubuhlebezwe municipality.
Vezi, Nkosiyezwe Cyprian.
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The dawn of a free society and first democratic election that were non-racial elections in the mid-nineties resulted in the birth of a new epoch of leadership at the local level of government. The Constitution of South Africa, Act 108 1996, stipulates that municipalities should be established throughout the country, including the rural areas. As a result, Councillors were elected in the areas of jurisdiction previously governed by Traditional Leaders. The development of municipalities in rural areas resulted in two kinds of leadership: democratically elected Municipal Councillors and Traditional Leaders, which has caused tension between these two forms of leadership. The tensions experienced between traditional and government leaders are mainly fuelled by the overlap of the roles and responsibilities of democratically elected Councillors and Traditional Leaders. In addition, there is no set structure for the governing of relations between Traditional Leaders and democratically elected Councillors. This study explored the relationship between Traditional Leaders and democratically elected Councillors and their role in the provision of service delivery at Ubuhlebezwe Municipality. In addition, the study set out to explore the ways in which the relationship between Traditional Leaders and ward Councillors could be managed so as to harmonise the relationship between them in order to improve service delivery in Ubuhlebezwe Municipality. A case study design was used in this research and a qualitative methodology underpinned the study. Purposive sampling technique which is part of non-probability sampling method was employed to select Traditional Leaders and members of the ward committees of Ubuhlebezwe Municipality. Focus - group discussions and in-depth interviews were used to gather data from the twelve participants in the study. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The study found that the management of the relationship between Traditional Leaders and Councillors in respect of service delivery is poor. Traditional Leaders felt that the democratic dispensation has given a great deal of power to Councillors in decision-making and implementation of most service delivery programmes. There is no discussion or consultation between Traditional Leaders and ward Councillors, and also no agreement regarding the implementation and evaluation of service delivery strategies.. The study found that there is poor recognition of Traditional Leaders by ward Councillors, thus Traditional Leaders are not actively participating in service delivery. Consequently, there is an urgent need for interventions to be put in place to delineate the roles and responsibilities of ward Councillors and Traditional Leaders in the provision of service delivery and also to promote greater consultation between the two, not only in Ubuhlebezwe Municipality but also in South Africa more broadly.