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The roles and functions of traditional leaders (Amakhosi) in the democratic South Africa with a specific focus on those falling under Ingonyama Trust : a case study of Ugu District municipality.

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The institution of traditional leadership remains one of the hotly contested topics in post-apartheid South Africa. This is despite the fact that Chapter 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa accords this institution status under the new political dispensation. What seems to be the bone of contention is the role traditional leaders should play in the present context. The roles and functions of amakhosi have been in constant flux, being redefined by different stages of history, from colonialism to apartheid and once again in the democratic South Africa. As such, amakhosi remain part of the present governance system. This study was guided by several aims which included but were not limited to: establish and articulate the roles and functions of amakhosi in post-apartheid South Africa and local governance, with a specific focus on amakhosi falling under Ingonyama Trust; evaluate the adequacy of resources allocated to amakhosi for achieving their directive; parallel legal requirements with work taking place at grassroots level; as well as compare and contrast the mandate of amakhosi against that of democratically elected councillors focusing particularly on those who fall under Ingonyama Trust. Empirical research using questionnaires and interviews was conducted in the Ugu District Municipality. The findings revealed inter alia that the roles and functions of amakhosi have been in constant flux over a lengthy period of time. As such, amakhosi and their traditional leadership supporting structures have had to constantly evolve to pass the bar. Another finding was that amakhosi are still accorded status and relevance in society but need to be provided financial resources for them to be more effective. Lastly, the study revealed that at times amakhosi and elected councillors compete for supremacy. It is therefore recommended that further legislation is needed to ensure that these two leadership structures work in harmony to ensure community development.


M. Soc. Sc. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2015.


Democracy., Community leadership--South Africa., Political leadership--South Africa., Theses--Political science.