ActionSA would like to thank everyone who made the contribution towards the development of this policy. It was interesting to observe that we received inputs, mainly from people living in rural areas, and understand their challenges from firsthand experience.
We must from onset state that this is one of the policies that still needs further panel engagements, especially around traditional affairs. The discussion panels we convened only managed to consult the Royal Leaders (Amakhosi only) – noting there are other stakeholders such as those in traditional affairs; Traditional Healers, Religious leaders etc, which we will consult with to solidify or policy in this regard.
The policy we have adopted today, is a pillar of social justice. When in government, ActionSA needs to prioritize this policy, because if correctly implemented, it could address:
Through this policy, ActionSA sees a South Africa where those living in rural communities can enjoy greater access to opportunity and services. A South Africa we people are served by a competent government, that will stimulate vibrant local economies, and where our traditional leaders provide leadership that conserves cultural norms and promotes fair and equitable governance aligned with the principles of our Constitution.
The quality of education and healthcare services, which are critical to human development are significantly lacking in many rural communities as compared to urban communities. If this problem is not addressed, it will result in rural communities becoming increasingly marginalised and disadvantaged as compared to urban communities.
South Africa recognizes traditional leadership structures, which coexists alongside our parliamentary system of governance. This at times, leads to complexities and inconsistencies with regards to the roles, powers, and responsibilities of traditional leaders, as well as their integration with local government structures.
Land reform is an important concern, more especially in rural communities. Our approach to land reform must ensure that unbiased processes are put in place, and that more people can access land ownership. However, such processes must take place within the existing constitutional framework, and not solely focus on rural area.
The strength of South Africa’s primary sector, especially mining and agriculture, means that our rural areas will continue to provide opportunities for economic prosperity. Fostering economic development in our rural areas will further enhance the effectiveness of our sectoral plans and allow South Africans to continue to enjoy the benefits of rural life.
We must empower our Traditional Leaders to continue to play their role as custodians of traditional leadership structures and systems, while also ensuring that traditional leadership systems accord with the values of our constitutional democracy, as entrenched in our Constitution.
With this policy, we aim to: