On the basis of historical research, interviews conducted among traditional leaders and local councillors in traditional authority areas, as well as a small survey of residents in three traditional authority areas, the paper considers the challenges posed for democratic consolidation arising from the accommodation of traditional authorities in city government in Durban. The paper questions whether the turn to tradition evident in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality constitutes an unfortunate retrograde step or whether institutional pluralism allows for political flexibility and stability and offers opportunities for the more effective extension of service delivery and development to the city's urban periphery. These questions are explored with reference to Albert Hirschman's seminal thesis on exit, voice and loyalty. This lens is used to interrogate the exercise of democratic consolidation and local governance in a context where elected politicians and local bureaucrats are obliged to coordinate their activities with hereditary leaders whose authority rests on royal blood or appointment.
Beall, J. Working Paper No. 59. Exit, Voice and Tradition: Loyalty to Chieftainship and Democracy in Metropolitan Durban, South Africa. (2005) 28 pp.