Research Paper 5 - Indigenous Institutions, Traditional Leaders and Developmental Coalitions: The Case of Greater Durban, South Africa

Research Paper 05

Jo Beall with Mduduzi Ngonyama, June 2009

South Africa had to accommodate indigenous institutions in its new political order when the country made its transition from minority rule to a non-racial democracy in 1994. 

In many parts of the world, and especially post-colonial states, customary forms of governance remain salient, being deeply rooted in local institutions. However, such institutions are not immutable and have over many decades interacted with colonial powers and western states in a range of ways and to varying effect. It is increasingly recognised that institutional multiplicity and competing claims to social and political legitimacy need to be taken seriously within hybrid political orders.

Key points:

This paper examines the incorporation of indigenous institutions into the newly democratised eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (the Metro) in Durban, South Africa, profiling examples of better and worse practice both at provincial level in KwaZulu-Natal and in the context of metropolitan governance. 

It also looks at how, in the process, old political settlements and coalitions were broken and new ones constructed. 

The paper concludes that success is predicated on accommodating institutional multiplicity within a hybrid political order, in which leaders work on premises of the need for trade-offs and least worst option and as a result engage in inclusive processes, which in turn facilitate developmental coalition.

 

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

Two exciting job vacancies in the DLP team

Monday 12th November 2018

DLP is looking for a Program Manager and a Communications Manager to help lead a new three-year phase of research on leadership in global development.

Read more

New article on how unfair service provision affects state legitimacy

Thursday 26th July 2018

Claire Mcloughlin's new open-access article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding draws on the case of higher education in Sri Lanka. It explores how unfair service provision can undermine state legitimacy in divided societies.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog