Tinkhundla System of Governance


The Tinkhundla concept of government has its roots in the Second World War, led by Prince Dabede of Gundvwini Royal Residence and Ndvuna Mfundza John Brightwell Sukati of Zabeni Royal Residence. Veteran Swazi Soldiers, who came back in 1945 to 1946 from the Middle East, spent sometime with His Majesty King Sobhuza II relating their experiences gained along the sea shores of the African Continent during the British Military campaign from the Durban Sea Port to Tripoli in North Africa. They recommended that in order for the economy of Swaziland to recover from ravages of the war, community centers (Tinkhundla) should be established and rally support for the King’s endeavors to bring about proportional development of the country. Also this would strengthen and enhance national safety and security strategies.

In 1977 King Sobhuza II elected the Delimitation Commission came up with a recommendation of twenty two (22) Tinkhundla centres. The first Tinkhundla established were headed by Tindvuna teTinkhundla which were all ex-soldiers (umsizi) appointed by His Majesty King Sobhuza II.

In 1979 Tinkhundla centers were increased from twenty two (22) to fourty (40) because it was realized that most people fail to attend and participate Tinkhundla meetings.  In 1993 the Tinkhundla centres were further increased to fifty five (55) following recommendations of the Delimitation Commission that was appointed by His Majesty King Mswati III. This commission was a result of people’s views during consultative commissions (Vuselas), which were led by Prince Masitsela, Prince Mahlalengangeni and Prince Guduza.

Tinkhundla Governance

According to section 79 of the Constitution of Swaziland, the system of Government is democratic and participatory based on the Tinkhundla. The system emphasizes the devolution of state power from central government to Tinkhundla while individual merit is a basis for election and appointment into public office.

In general, Tinkhundla stimulate community development at grassroots level, coordinating and promoting a good relationship between Government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working at the Tinkhundla level.  They further provide a link between communities and government as well as other development agents to ensure the responsiveness of all national policies to the needs of the people.  In the process they create harmony among all agents providing services within that Inkhundla .

The Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development  has a mandate to facilitate the management of region development and facilitate promote service delivery at Tinkhundla and Chiefdoms levels.  Tinkhundla are the foundation for the bottom-up development planning process and the delivery of local services in partnership with central government.  A major area of focus in the process is the development; implementation, monitoring and evaluation of evidence based integrated development plans funded by development grants and central government budget where applicable.  The Ministry also has a mandate to bring about improvements in the performance and effectiveness of the administration and management of the Regions, Tinkhundla Committees and chiefdoms.


There has been a great improvement in the provision of office structure. Tinkhundla construction programmes were redesigned and implemented through out the country. Tinkhundla structures now have electricity, telephones, fencing, stationery, furniture and a conference room.

November 11, 2004 Tinkhundla Computerization Programme was launched at Nhlambeni Inkhundla for an effective, efficient, vibrant and sustainable people driven socio-economic transformation. According to the Swaziland constitution and the Decentralization policy, Tinkhundla are now local governments and will be instrumental in the bottom-up planning process.  The major role is the development of a participatory and integrated development plan. Furthermore, a new area of emphasis is the development and maintenance of comprehensive database for each of these local institutions, which will inform development.

Tinkhundla centres as economic growth point where people meet and communities are mobilized to embark on business projects has been allocated Tinkhundla Empowerment Fund. Initially it was Seventy Thousand Emalangeni (70,000) per Inkhundla, but lately it was upgraded to one hundred and thirty Thousand Emalangeni (E130 000).  This caters for the payment of utilities, stationery and minor maintanace of the Tinkhundla offices.

Construction of Tinkhundla buildings was first phase of government community strategies, second phase was construction of community business workshops (Sedco-like).Third phase will consist of the construction of community hall and staff housing.

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