Should traditional leaders play a role in managing rural water resources?
Managing water resources in South Africa is subject to political contestation, as not all water users are allocated rights equally, with licenses for water use often issued to industrial enterprises, mines, game lodges, and commercial agriculture, without consideration to rural communities’ water needs and water quality needs. Given the capacity constraints in provincial governments, can traditional leaders help government to manage water resources, in line with the Constitutional provisions for legal pluralism?
On 17 March 2015, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) and the Water Research Commission will be bringing together policy-makers, traditional leaders and members of rural communities, CBOs and NGOs, for a Policy Dialogue Workshop on ‘Water Governance in Traditional Rural Community Contexts of South Africa: Policy Options’.
The workshop will aim to generate policy recommendations to assist water institutions and national government to better deliver on their primary mandate of access to water resources and infrastructure for productive purposes and improved livelihoods. The workshop will explore:
1. Given the urgent need to resolve rural poverty, unemployment, inequality and under-development, what are the challenges to effective water governance in traditional rural communities?
2. What are the benefits and dis-benefits of creating an institutional environment for a legally pluralistic system of water governance in South Africa?
3. What is the nature of the institution of traditional leadership and what are the parameters within which it can be beneficial in overall water governance?
4. Can the equity principle be best served from a traditional leadership point of view?
5. What roles can traditional leadership play in decentralized and democratized water governance, resource management and services institutions?
In addition, representatives of rural communities will explore how Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) can support water governance, how gender can be given consideration, and how to link water access to market value chains.
Traditional leaders who will be speaking at the event include: Nwamitwa Chieftainship, Limpopo Hosi (Queen) Nwamitwa; Traditional Leadership, Northern KwaZulu-Natal Induna Peter Nyawo; Makuleke Community, Limpopo Prince Humphrey Hlupekile Mugagula; Namaqualand Traditional Leadership, Northern Cape Mr Cornelius Links, representing Nama Rural Communities; and Royal Bafokeng Nation, North West Mr Eric Nkele, Secretary of RBN Supreme Council.
Speakers from CBOs and NGO include: Mrs Sizani Ngobeni from the Rural Women’s Movement, KwaZulu-Natal; Mr Ronald Radebe, Pongola Dam Water Users Association, KwaZulu-Natal; Mr Vusi Myeni, Sizabantu Artisanal Fishers & Fish Sellers, Jozini, KwaZulu-Natal; Mr Abey Malate, Strydkraal Smallholder Irrigation Farmers, Limpopo Province; Mr Solomon Baloyi, representing Nandoni Dam communities; Ms Aldred Booisen from Seloane-Mampana Community Land Claimants, Limpopo Province; Ms Monica de Souza from the Centre for Law and Society (CLS), University of Cape Town; and Ms Fundi Biyela, Director of Inina Craft Centre.
For more information, contact: PLAAS Senior Researcher, Dr Barbara Tapela: 082 214 5616 and Eiman Karar ,Executive Manager Water Resources Management : 083 290 7231.