Finding an "African way of solving African problems" must be a priority in today's South Africa, according to President Jacob Zuma who was speaking at an indaba on traditional leadership on Monday.
Fresh from defeating an NEC vote of no-confidence in his leadership, Zuma spoke at a Unity in Diversity indaba at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg looking into the role of traditional leaders in South Africa.
The event was attended by kings, senior traditional leaders, indigenous leaders, government leaders, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, and members of the media.
Zuma said the institutionalisation of traditional leadership needed to be supported by wider society, and the real challenge was recognising both Constitutional principles while upholding traditional values.
He compared his role as president -- where his term of office was dependent on the elections -- with a traditional leader when his reign would be fixed. "If I am a traditional leader then I am here [to stay]", he said.
Zuma spoke on the role of traditional leaders in radical economic development, land restitution as well as in curbing problems of unconstitutional traditional practices. They could include ukuthwala, where a man and his friends kidnap a woman for marriage, and concern is also mounting over the number of young men who die during initiation rites.
He also said that traditional leaders must help in social cohesion and nation-building, and in curbing problems of femicide and rape of children, which goes against ubuntu.
He said that they can also play an important role in combating of hate crimes and hate speech.
Addressing the land issue, Zuma said that black people are still left behind when it comes to ownership and control of the economy.
"Land dispossession made us poor. If you have land, you have what it takes to live," he said.
The president rejected notions of land grabs and said that land must be distributed legally, but also went on to say that beneficiaries should not sell land as it leads to dispossession.
"Let us not fight; when we get excited it is difficult to follow logic," said the president.
Zuma said that government will engage traditional leaders on radical socio-economic programmes and spoke of the role of traditional leaders in strengthening relationships with the rest of the continent.