President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is working on building a strong relationship with traditional leaders in order to find solutions to issues confronting South Africans.

He has been addressing the annual Opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders, taking place in a hybrid format, with select members in attendance at a designated venue in Parliament that meets COVID-19 protocols.

The 2021 State of the Nation Address (Sona) outlined four priorities, namely defeating the coronavirus pandemic; accelerating economic recovery; economic reforms to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth, and fighting corruption and strengthening the state.

The National House of Traditional Leaders provides a platform for traditional leadership to engage on how the President’s vision relates to traditional communities and the role traditional leaders can play in contributing to the country’s growth.

Ramaphosa says traditional leaders are playing a crucial role in the fight against COVID-19.

“Our traditional leaders were deeply immersed and involved in things such as food distribution and assisting our people as they are facing this great hardship. They also helped with child friendly masks in eight of our provinces. We want to thank you for your contribution. We saw you at work and with partnerships of this kind we can do more and there’s no doubt about that. With partnerships like this we can so much more to improve the plight of our people,” says the President.

Ramaphosa has urged traditional leaders to constantly engage government on matters that concern them.

He says when they feel that they are not being consulted adequately, they should not tire to raise these with government.

The President said it was important that the partnership between government and the traditional leadership is strengthened for the benefit of the communities.

He acknowledged that there may not have been proper consultation with traditional leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic where government tended to move fast, leaving the traditional leaders behind.

“Our partnership with you as traditional leaders is sacrosanct. We want to consolidate that. We want to build a very strong relationship with our traditional leaders because for us it is worth everything. We’ve got to have a very respectful, functional and progressive relationship with yourselves,” explains the President.

The video below is the President address: