This chapter explores how traditional institutions have been accommodated at local level without compromising democratic governance in South Africa. The institution of traditional leadership and authority is a controversial issue in South African constitutional law. This is not surprising, because in South Africa, as is true of a majority of African countries, traditional governance is grounded in the belief that the power of a traditional leader to rule over his people originates from time immemorial and is supported, guided, and legitimated by the ancestors. However, historical events and the demands of modernity have changed this institution. Although traditional leadership has survived into post-apartheid South Africa and is constitutionally entrenched, there is no doubt that its role in a young democracy is immensely complicated and nuanced.
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