UKZN Academics help Strengthen Traditional Leadership in Umgungundlovu District
A research interest in dispute resolution led to Discipline of Public Governance academic, Ms Ntokozo Makoba, partnering with fellow academics, Mr Sakhile Zondi and Mr Nkosinathi Nkwanyana, to facilitate a Conflict Resolution at Local Government Workshop for Traditional Councils (TC) in KwaZulu-Natal’s Umgungundlovu District.
The goal of the training workshop was to share conflict resolution strategies with the TCs and to inform them about what is expected of them in Traditional Leadership as well as the requirements of the Governance Framework Amendment Act of 2003 and ultimately the KwaZulu-Natal Traditional Leadership and Governance Bill of 2013.
Makoba said the workshop stemmed from the data collection stage of her PhD study which she undertook in five rural areas in the Umgungundlovu District, one of those being eMpumuza which is under the leadership of Inkosi Nsikayezwe Zondi.
‘It was my intention that the community should benefit from the study so when Inkosi Zondi requested training for his Traditional Council in Dispute Resolution it provided an ideal opportunity for me,’ said Makoba.
She said although the training was aimed at TC members, it also attracted other community members.
‘The content of the training leant towards the restorative processes as well as the use of indigenous knowledge to resolve disputes and to restore relationships within families and communities.
‘The training was also attended by community members who were at the eMpumuza Administrative Centre for various reasons.’
Zondi said that as academics in the governance field it was imperative for them to share their knowledge to strengthen good governance in the country.
‘As facilitators, our objective was to present strategies to break down barriers between conflicting groups, and to support collaboration among the groups to help them peacefully resolve their differences and embark on activities that benefit both sides. These shared activities can be the most effective way for community development and to demonstrate the benefits of co-operation,’ said Zondi.
Nkwanyana, an academic at the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, facilitated a training session for entrepreneurs, traditional leaders and members of the local Cooperative businesses who want to open businesses. The session focused on business and participants expressed an interest in more sessions on incubation programmes and sessions that would provide members with computer and financial skills, among others.
‘The participants said there was a need for more cooperative businesses in the area with Inkosi Zondi recommending the formation of a cooperative that would include all the traditional council members,’ said Nkwanyana.
‘Overall we all agreed that the status quo has to change and that rural communities have to stop being content with being consumers of finished goods. It was also generally agreed that locally owned businesses would increase the circulation of money in the area leading ultimately to a reduction in poverty, unemployment and inequality.’