Deputy President David Mabuza has called on all traditional leaders to stand up against all forms of abuse and violence against women and children.
“We must condemn those who use culture to undermine women and children’s rights, including undermining the common heritage of us all as a people,” he said.
Mabuza was speaking on Thursday in Bhisho, Eastern Cape, where he was in his capacity as Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team established to respond to issues raised by traditional and Khoi-San leaders.
He described traditional leadership as the most intimate institution that is grounded to the people with a significant role to play in addressing unemployment, inequality, poverty, gender-based violence (GBV), child abuse, and the emotive issue of land.
“We must stand firm as leaders and say no to all forms of abuse and violence, and embrace all that is building our nation.”
Mabuza said the prevalent challenges of crime, teenage pregnancy, and alcohol and drug abuse require decisive and quick action.
“We need to find practical ways to keep children away from drugs and alcohol.
“As traditional and Khoi-San leaders, we must alter the course of future generations by emphasising the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and by providing our communities with the skills, jobs, and extracurricular activities that will help them develop and occupy themselves productively.”
He also raised concerns about the infection rate of HIV and tuberculosis, particularly among adolescent girls and young women.
“As part of our prevention efforts, we must continue to spread positive and powerful messages to young people about prolonging the onset of sexual relationships as much as possible and when they do, to have sexually safe relationships and live healthy lifestyles.”
Government will continue to work towards the development and sustainability of rural communities by ensuring the provision of land rights and the transfer of ownership from the State to rightful owners.
“We will prioritise inclusive land use management, infrastructure development, and targeted assistance to rural populations,” he said, adding that it was essential to prioritise land access as a crucial asset for rural development and economic transformation.
According to the Deputy President, it is crucial for land held in trust by traditional and Khoi-San leaders to be successfully utilised for agricultural, human settlement and industrial development.
“Government will collaborate with traditional and Khoi-San leaders to guarantee that ordinary people in traditional communities benefit from commercial land usage.”
The Deputy President said leaders need to commit to protecting, promoting and preserving heritage for future generations.
“We believe that if we preserve our cultural heritage, we will be able to keep our integrity, values, morals and respect for one another as a nation.”
Mabuza also called on families, non-government organisations, government officials, educational institutions, businesses and media, to contribute to the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage.
Source: South African Government News Agency