Congress of Traditional Leaders

The key to Rural Development.


A Brief History

Contralesa was born on September 20, 1987., following opposition to the imposition of indepedence in KwaNdebele during 1985-86 and the persecution of sub-chiefs, activists and prominent people who were forced out of the area. They went to Protoria, the East Rand and area around Johannesburg. Amongst them was the Prince Klass Makhosana who went to Pretoria Mamelodi where he met Richard Mothupi,

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Richard Mothupi, who in turn introduced him to UDF, SAYCO and CAWU activists from the Northern/Southern Transvaal. These activists discussed the plight of the KwaNdebele and Moutse “refugees”. The outcome of these discussions was the establishment of a chiefs structure, Contralesa

Why we are here

We as Contralesa bring together all traditional authorities, such as the chiefs and headsmen, who identify broadly with the liberation movement. Officially we a are non-aligned, insisting traditional rulers are above party politics. since our inception we have more than 2 00 members in all provinces. Contralesa has not gone unchallenged, and have had some difficulties with our memebers in Natal as well as conservative rival groups

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springing up from time to time. We present ourselves as a powerful sector of the rural community, Contralesa has been fighting for a place for traditional leaders in the new government. Umtata advocate Patekile Holomisa was a long serving president of Contralesa until 2013 upon which Setlamorago Thobejane was elected as our new president.

Where we stand today

A number of our members have tabled a proposal that we, as Contralesa breakaway from the African National Congress and form our own party that will deal with traditional issues, there is a belief among some of our members that we as traditional leaders support a call by the NEC for a stand alone party that contests in elections, due to the fact that the ruling party has not taking us seriously since their election. There is also a

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  strong stand among us that we should remain apolitical and the home of all traditional leaders without involving party politics, yet support every political party in rural areas.
Kgosi Setlamorago Thobejane

Kgosi Setlamorago Thobejane


  • He matriculated in Makgoka High School and obtained his BA Law Admin Degree in
    University of Limpopo (then University of the North) in 1997.
  • Led the Mafefe Traditional Council to establish Development Council.
    • Building Schools, clinics and community halls
    • Entered into an agreement with Eskom to electrify Mafefe.
      • Among other achievments
  • He became part of the Leadership of CONTRALESA from early 1990’s .
  • Served as Limpopo Chairperson from 1998 to 2009.
  • Assistant General Secretary, Acting General Secretary, National Organizer and General Secretary.
  • Served as a member of Parliament in the National Council of Provinces.
  • Elected President of CONTRALESA in 2013.
Kgosi Nyala Pilane

Kgosi Nyala Pilane

Deputy President

  • Not only a traditional leader but an astute businessman in his own right.
  • 1996 declared to be Kgosi ya Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela
  • Kgosi Pilane has been engaging both local and international business community to ensure that the primary resources of the region are utilized:
    • 2003 negotiated for new platinum mine for BBK where the tribe acquired a mining license under a holding company IBMR
    • 2006 negotiated with Anglo where BBK acquired and became 15% shareholders in union section, part of a R1.2 bn transaction.
  • These are just a few of Kgosi Nyala Pilane achievements.
  • Serves as a member in many boards including Sedibelo Platinum Mine.
  • Currently the Deputy President of the Congress Of Traditional Leaders
Prince Gambani Mabena

Prince Gambani Mabena

National Treasurer

  • Manala Mbongo Royal Council from Ndebele Kingdom under King Makhosonke II
  • Received grade 12 at Babutheni High School.
  • Study at University of Pretoria B Juris and LLB.
  • Admitted and practicing advocate of High Court of South Africa.
  • Studying towards Masters of Laws at UNISA.
  • Currently National Treasurer General of Contralesa.
Nkosi Xolile Ndevu

Nkosi Xolile Ndevu

  • A Member of AmaBomvana Clan and head of isizwe seMiganu.
  • Head and Chairperson of ImiGanu Traditional Authorities in Elliotdale Eastern Cape under Xosa Kingdom
  • Member of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional leaders of South Africa as a representative of the King of AmaXhosa
  • Elected General Secretary of( CONTRALESA)