Parliament mourns chair of National House of Traditional Leaders

The chairman of the national house of traditional leaders, Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu, has died.
The chairman of the national house of traditional leaders, Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu, has died.
Image: Supplied

The chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Sipho Mahlangu, has died.

Faith Muthambi,  chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs, announced Mahlangu’s death on Friday and sang his praises.

“Inkosi Mahlangu was always available to meet with the committee and the committee has greatly appreciated his wisdom and co-operation,” she said in a statement.

“He played a pivotal role in strengthening the role of traditional leadership at the local sphere of government and worked hard in deepening the values of constitutional democracy and the principles of co-operative governance.”

Muthambi said Mahlangu was “outspoken on the administration of land rights in traditional areas and believed that traditional leaders owned the land on behalf of their subjects. He fought relentlessly against all forms of gender-based violence and held workshops within rural communities to raise the level of awareness about it.”

The committee sent its “heartfelt condolences to his wife, the Ndzundza royal family and the Ndebele nation”. Muthambi said: “May his soul rest in eternal piece.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed condolences to Mahlangu’s family during his address on Friday evening after the spate of lootings that plagued KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

He also sent condolences to the families of musician Tsepo Tshola, former KwaZulu-Natal premier Prof Ben Ngubane, former Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo, and Michael Zuma, former president Jacob Zuma’s younger brother.

Mahlangu was an advocate for land redistribution. During the state of the nation address debate in March, he urged Ramaphosa to consider the traditional leaders’ request for a presidential land summit.

“We need the amendment of the constitution to provide for expropriation of land without compensation, that 87% of land which is in the hands of government, churches and the private sector. However, food production should not be compromised,” he said.

Mahlangu said adequate support should be given to the structures of traditional leadership.

“Provide support and increase co-operation between government and traditional leaders for the development of rural communities as well as amend the constitution so as to provide for the powers and functions of traditional leaders as per the discussions held from 1998 to 2003,” he said.