IN QUOTES | Ramaphosa implores traditional leaders to end abuse of cultural practices

26 February 2020 - 10:21 By Unathi Nkanjeni
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on traditional leaders to help end the abuse of cultural practices that violate human rights.

He was addressing the official opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in parliament on Tuesday. 

Here are six quotes from his address.

Violation of human rights

“We need to address the abuse of cultural practices that result in the violation of human rights.

“Customary initiation is a rite of passage for our young people to manhood and adulthood, but it has become increasingly infiltrated by unscrupulous people and many young men are being maimed or losing their lives.

Same thing every year

“It cannot be that every year we sit here and say the same thing about more needing to be done, but the death toll continues to rise.

“We urge traditional leaders as custodians of culture to take this cultural practice back into your hands and improve it accordingly.”

Customary Initiation Bill

“We further call on you to work with the SA Police Service to ensure those who are involved in these unscrupulous practices are arrested and charged.

“Once it becomes law, the Customary Initiation Bill that is currently before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) should serve as a critical empowering law to regulate the practice of customary initiation.”

Gender-based violence

“We must do more to support the empowerment of women and to end all forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide.

“As we said in the state of the nation address (Sona), the empowerment of women is critical to inclusive economic growth. Women need to benefit from all funding initiatives introduced by various government departments.”


“Rural areas are impacted greatly by an economy that is not growing and where jobs are being lost.

“This is fuelling serious social problems, like substance abuse, alcoholism and GBV.”

Inclusive growth 

“We must take inclusive growth and development to the people; to where they live, where they work, where they worship and where they study.

“We are moving away from the top-down approach to service provision that has resulted in wastage, duplication, and mismanagement.”