Review Article

The strategic role of traditional leadership in promoting good governance

Noluthando S. Matsiliza
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 12, No 1 | a825 | DOI: | © 2024 Noluthando S. Matsiliza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2023 | Published: 10 June 2024

About the author(s)

Noluthando S. Matsiliza, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management and Economics, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa


Background: It is hypothesised that the limited roles and rights of traditional leadership in constitutional democracy in the selected case studies, being limited to involvement in mainly rural development and land administration has negatively affected the capacity of traditional leadership to positively impact good governance.

Aim: This article assesses the strategic role of traditional leadership in promoting good governance using the case of Botswana and South Africa.

Methods: This article adopted a qualitative literature review approach to collect and analyse secondary data. Diverse sources used include credible scholarly journal articles, books and policy documents. A thematic, systematic data analysis approach was used to analyse data. The trajectory for the methodology focussed on data identification, inclusion criteria, data screening and analysis.

Results: Key findings revealed that the problematic issue with traditional leadership roles is that their original rights have been curtailed by constitutional democracy in serving communities, mainly rural development strategy and land administration. This study revealed that limited autonomy challenges traditional leaders to support and realise good governance efforts fully.

Conclusion: This article demonstrated that there are gaps in the traditional governance models of South Africa and Botswana, as revealed to be impeding their plight to foster good governance.

Contribution: Findings from this study contribute to the existing knowledge and can assist traditional leaders in improving their mandate and their core existence by tapping into strategies to foster good governance.


Africa; Botswana; development; governance; indigenous knowledge systems; leadership; legislation; modern governance; traditional leadership; service delivery

JEL Codes

H83: Public Administration • Public Sector Accounting and Audits

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions


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