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A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Zuma: Government Will Mediatise Six of South Africa’s Monarchies

Six of South Africa’s thirteen monarchies are to be mediatised, the country’s president announced in July. A report by the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims of the South African government concluded that the six dynasties had been raised from chiefdoms to monarchies by the apartheid government for purely political reasons and suggested that their government funding and recognition be ended. President Zuma said the aim of the move was to correct “the wrongs of the past” but that no one was being accused of collaboration with the apartheid authorities. The six incumbent rulers will retain their styles and dignities while their successors will revert to the rank of princely chiefs.

“We have been waiting for this decision for a long time,” Khosi Fhumulani Kutama, the Chairman of the National House of Traditional Leaders told the media. “It is important that people accept it not only for the institution of traditional leadership but for the whole country.”

But the indications so far are that the six monarchies will take the government to court in an attempt to forestall the demotion.

Up to this point, the most significant spate of mediatisation was during the Napoleonic era, when Talleyrand arranged the demotion and reorganisation of conquered German lands.

This post was published on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 12:30 pm. It has been categorised under History Monarchy Nobility Politics South Africa.
David Allen
9 Sep 2010 10:38 am

The wasteful and useless king of the Zulu people is a profligate example how silly and expensive this synthetic construction is. South Africa is a republic, and a nation of equals. That is what it proudly claims to be. Its monarchs and princelings (in reality petty chieftains and headmen)are profligate anachronisms in a country that trumpets itself the most progressive in Africa. The House of Traditional Leaders and the traditional leaders themselves are an immoral waste of taxpayers money. South Africa has failing schools, collapsing hospitals, a degraded road system and infrastructure, incessant high levels of crime, idle and corrupt politicians and an inefficient, almost moribund civil service, yet it squanders public money on and extends unmerited privilege to these preposterous men and women.

S. Petersen
10 Sep 2010 1:44 pm

The mere existence of royalty is not, ipso facto, waste. Show me the people who has democratized away crime or bad roads.

David Allen
11 Sep 2010 1:34 pm

I am not sure whether S.Pietersen is remarking on my comment or making a separate one. If he is remarking about my comment, I am not criticising constitutional monarchies. I am criticising the waste of taxpayers money on people who have no constitutional function in a a republican democracy, in a country where all citizens are legal equals. These grade inflated chiefs and headmen are paid for being being born with an hereditary status and give nothing serious back to South Africa in return. The king of the Zulus with his many wives, his palaces and cars, his horde of children, all of whom were educated at expensive private schools, is paid millions every year by the taxpayers of South Africa to lead this extravagant existence. His priviledged and quite useless life is extended to other “traditional leaders” by the government and is an expensive indulgence a country like South Africa can ill afford.

K. Dontoh
27 Sep 2010 4:33 pm

Mediatization in a republic. Only in Africa or the Polish Commonwealth.

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