A delegation of traditional leaders from the Free State Province of South Africa has paid a working visit to the Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Stephen Asamoah Boateng.
The meeting, on the insistence of the South African leaders, is part of the activities of the delegation’s visit to Ghana to enable them to consult with traditional rulers in the Eastern and Ashanti regions.
The delegation was led by the Deputy Director-General of Traditional Affairs, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Free State Province, Annah Buthelezi, and accompanying them was the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Grace Janet Mason.
Mr. Asamoah Boateng stressed in his address the need for closer collaboration between Ghana and South Africa to help protect, strengthen and modernize the chieftaincy institutions in both countries.
He explained that already, his outfit was pushing for the amendment of the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (Act 759) to, among other things, transfer more power to traditional authorities to be able to summon to their respective palaces people who misconducted themselves or flouted local bye-laws and other major promises that will soon be presented to Cabinet for approval that will make Chief and Traditional Leaders very powerful in aiding government business agendas.
The Deputy Director-General of Traditional Affairs, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Free State Province, Morena Mopeli, speaking on behalf of the South African leaders, said the system of selecting chiefs in Ghana was similar to that of the Free State Province and for that matter, South Africa.
She supported the idea of more collaboration between the two countries on how best to share power between traditional authorities and politicians to ensure chiefs did not remain only ceremonial leaders.
The traditional ruler was also not happy about the way civil society groups in South Africa recently took the government to court to prevent measures by the South African government to give more power to chiefs in the country.
On her part, the South African High Commissioner, Ms. Janet Mason, said the Free State Province was the bread basket of South Africa and shared many similarities with the Ashanti and Eastern regions.
The Free State Province has a very rich cultural heritage that is inextricably linked to that of Ghana; hence, the visit is important.
Mr. Asamoah Boateng was later decorated in South African traditional gear and other gifts to symbolize the healthy relations between both countries.