The concept of “traditional leaders” does not only include kings, but the whole hierarchy of traditional rule and this includes, for instance, chiefs and headmen.
For millions of South Africans, traditional leaders are the custodians of their culture, traditions and values. They are authority figures, undisputed leaders and they are decision makers. They are closest form of government to our people, especially in rural South Africa.
When you talk about “lifestyle”, it has a negative connotation – I guess that the example here is His Majesty King Zwelethini and the perceived excesses of his lifestyle at the taxpayer’s expense. The sad irony is that there are gross disparities between how the traditional leaders of the various tribes, at various levels, are treated.
The UDM will never support the indiscriminate waste of taxpayers’ money, but we are of the view that the value of the perks (such as vehicles) must be properly budgeted for and, of critical importance, is that such perks should be standardised across the board for ministers, deputy-ministers, directors general, mayors and traditional leaders.