KwaZulu-Natal traditional leaders are thrilled of the initiative between Ikusasa in partnership with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (cogta) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Morrice Web Race Relations Unit). Ikusasa has been on a campaign since October 2015, conducting training and dialogues for KZN traditional leaders and their communities, targeting the province’s four district municipalities. eThekwini, Ugu, Umgungundlovu, and the Harry Gwala district municipalities have benefitted immensely in a programme funded by the British High Commission, UK prosperity Fund.
The dialogues and training come after Ikusasa identified the rural areas that are hard hit by the drought and that the KwaZulu-Natal province was declared a disaster area due to the impact caused by climate change which has led rural communities to increased risk of drought.
The sessions aimed at raising the awareness and educating traditional leaders on the importance of protecting the environment in their communal lands.
Speaking on behalf of Ikusasa, Roland Vilane, said “climate change is the most significant threat to global food security and it is affecting the poor, who have contributed least to its causes, our role as Ikusasa is to make sure that we empower rural communities by way of education and provide resources and solutions as to how they can fight the climate change impact”, Vilane said.
Vilane further explained that all the issues raised by the leaders and the communities from these sessions will be noted and put to the attention of the relevant government departments who are dedicated to improving the lives of people living in the rural areas, he added.
More than 100 dialogues and training to all the district municipalities have been conducted, which in most cases included government stakeholders. During these leaders showed that there are similar environmental impacts leading to climate change within the communities and that the natural resources lacked management in comparable manners.
Nkosinathi Maphumulo, a traditional leader of eThekwini district said, the sessions have been beneficial to all the district traditional leaders in that the platform gave us the opportunity to voice out our concerns about the common issues faced by most rural communities. This include illegal sand mining, alien and invasive plants which impact water supply, bush pigs (hogs) which have a negative impact on local subsistence farming. The loss of Indigenous plants also contributed to communities being affected by climate change,he explained.
The dialogues and training have been wrapped up to all four districts in the province.