Save & Preserve Mmashalang

Save & Preserve Mmashalang is a petition that seeks to stop the extinction of traditional community heritage at Mmashalang, Mankgaile,  Ga Molepo. The traditional council in the village has launched a project that seeks to turn a piece of land where an ancient tribe once lived into a pseudo suburb. This is a devious plan by the estranged Headman Ngoato Makopa Molepo and a group of “friends” with benefits masquerading as a community Civic. The civic also consists of members of the Economic Freedom Fighters who have shamelessly infiltrated the operations of the village traditional council.

Our petition seeks to request the Polokwane Municipality to review the decision by Makhudu Traditional Council to request a plan for demarcation at Mmashalang,  Ga Molepo. There was a transgression of a cultural principle that warrants the removal of the “Headman”. His recognition is, according to customary, unlawful. This also includes all the decisions made following his unlawful recognition.

According to the Traditional Institutions of Governance and Leaderships Act (2003)(as amended), traditional authorities administer traditional communities in partnership with municipalities.  They are also responsible for granting residents permission to occupy land and demarcate as such etecetra.

The frame work also stipulates in paragraph 11 (1) a – that the recognition of a senior traditional leader, headman, or head woman has to be done by the royal family concerned. It further states, in paragraph 12 (1)a-d that a senior  traditional leader,  headman or head woman may be removed.

Tell a friend.  Spread the petition far and wide. SAVE ANCIENT HERITAGE FROM EXTINCTION.

In saving the heritage of the traditional community, we secure traditional knowledge for future generations. We are not against development.  Residents have been asking for stands for over 25 years. It is becoming clear the Headman/woman delayed giving residents stands because they want to sell the piece of land for money, to people who are not residents of the village, without proper consultation.

Development has to be done in a fair and transparent manner taking into consideration the heritage, legacy of our forefathers and mothers. The aspirations and views of all residents about planning for the demarcation have to be equally reflected. It should never be “a one man show”.The land at Mmashalang embodies all that.

Intensive consultation with everyone affected has to be done during the planning phase.

We request your signature to make this petition a success.

Latest Research Findings: Records Management an area of neglect in Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance

An info-graphic that depicts Records Management challenges of Traditional Institutions in Ga Molepo, Limpopo province, South Africa.

By Mahlaga J Molepo

The effective management of records in Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance is necessary for accountability and transparency in a country that is battling with high levels of corruption in public institutions. The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (National Assembly of South Africa) oversees the Department of Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs and other statutory entities. The Traditional Institutions of Leadership and Governance Framework Act (Act No. 41 of 2003, (Act No. 23 of 2009 as amended)) was passed into law in 2003. In 2009, the Act was amended and subsequently enacted in 2010. In 2017, there is a new bill that has been tabled for the amendment of certain sections of the Act. But little attention has been given to records management practices of traditional institutions in all the proposals to review the Act thus far.

Our study has found records management efforts by government only stops at government department level.  The latest research findings provide insight into the record management challenges faced by traditional institutions in the new democratic dispensation. The findings can be inferred to traditional institutions in other regions as well.

Related story: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Bill: finalization (2003)

A cross sectional survey was used to investigate records management practices of traditional institutions in Ga Molepo, Limpopo province, South Africa. Time and financial constraints did not allow for a lengthy study. The 35 respondents who took part in the study are members of traditional councils. The overwhelming majority of the respondents were of royal descent, and mostly men who belong to a council under a headman/woman as a senior chief.

Records keeping in traditional institutions of Ga Molepo is undertaken by people referred to as ‘secretaries’.

Traditional councils in Ga Molepo use word of mouth for communication, notebooks and exercise books without carbon copies in the creation, storage and dissemination of records. These are very fragile tools of managing public records and result in the loss of significant records documenting heritage and the administration of rural communities.

Furthermore, respondents indicated there is lack of political will on the part of local government to encourage traditional institutions to upgrade from outdated records management ways to modern ones.

Read also: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act ( RSA 2010)

While Chapter 2, Section 4 (Subsections 1-4) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Act (RSA 2010) outlines the functions of traditional institutions, there is very little detail regarding standards and guidelines for record keeping in traditional institutions.

Related story: Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill (RSA 2017)

Our main conclusion of the study is that there is no real records management practices by both senior leadership and headmen/women in the traditional councils of Ga Molepo. Modern records management in traditional institutions is essential for the preservation of communal memory and service delivery at grassroots level. There is an urgent need to address the records management practices of traditional institutions in order to forge a culture of accountability, transparency and corporate governance. Effective records management with standards and guidelines, set with the advice of technocrats and information professionals, should be part of the plans to improve on the functions of traditional institutions in future amendment bills of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (No. 23 of 2009). Both traditional institutions and government have a responsibility to make financial resources available for the implementation of a comprehensive records management program in traditional institutions.



Molepo, M.J., and L.M. Cloete. 2017. “A Proposal for Improving Records Management Practices of Traditional Institutions in Ga Molepo South Africa.” Mousaion 35 (1). 46-67.

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