International Development Planning Review

Navigating tradition: Traditional authorities and governance in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

International Development Planning Review (2004), 26, (4), 457–476.

Abstract

Strains on democratic governance in many parts of Africa have led to a resurgence of traditional authority. In South Africa, democratisation has been accompanied by moves to guarantee a role in governance development for traditional leaders, especially at the local level. Most often associated with the administration of rural areas and small towns, traditional authorities are only occasionally part of metropolitan governance. An exception (and the subject of this paper) is KwaZulu-Natal, where ubukhosi, the institution of chieftaincy, constitutes a political faultline running across the province. Straddling this faultline are the 15 amakhosi or chiefs who fall within the newly demarcated boundaries of eThekwini Municipality, which governs the metropolitan area of Greater Durban. On the basis of historical research and interviews with traditional leaders and city councillors working in traditional authority areas, the paper considers areas of tension and cooperation and the challenges for democratic consolidation and opportunities for development posed by the accommodation of traditional authorities in metropolitan governance.

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Author details

Beall, Jo

Mkhize, Sibongiseni

Vawda, Shahid