Pretoria, South Africa – The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has engaged in a pivotal consultative meeting with the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) to introduce its People-Centered Oversight initiative on International Relations. This initiative aims to address challenges faced by villages concerning international relations matters.
According to parliament of South Africa, Mr. Supra Mahumapelo, Chairperson of the committee, emphasized the significant roles CONTRALESA can play in public participation and law-making. He informed the CONTRALESA delegation, led by Mr. Zolani Mkiva, about the committee’s decision to establish forums across villages and townships nationwide, emphasizing the importance of involving traditional leadership in these forums.
The objectives of the People-Centered Oversight on International Relations, as outlined by Mr. Mahumapelo, include discussing the foreign relations dynamics affecting villages and collaborating with villagers to convey grassroots issues to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The committee plans to work with the department and its 160 embassies globally to attract investments and support village economies.
Mr. Mahumapelo highlighted the crucial role of village economies in South Africa’s overall economic landscape, stating, “South Africa will not go anywhere if we don’t build strong village-based economies.” He expressed the committee’s intention to bring together investors to develop village economies and facilitate the transfer of relevant skills from overseas to villages.
He further invited CONTRALESA to share their perspectives on economic matters and their interest in collaborating with other traditional systems globally. The committee aims to work closely with CONTRALESA, the Department of International Relations, and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to tackle various international relations challenges faced by communities.
The initiative will also involve local councillors, as they lead ward committees throughout the country, to educate people about international relations matters. Mr. Mahumapelo expressed confidence that this forum would enable direct and meaningful participation of the people in conflict resolution, business dealings, and other developmental issues.
Mr. Mkiva, on behalf of CONTRALESA, expressed gratitude for the committee’s outreach, recognizing it as a significant acknowledgment of the role of traditional leadership in the effective management of national affairs.