New Traditional Courts Bill undermines traditional structures - Contralesa

Last week Deputy Minister John Jeffery released the latest version of the Traditional Courts Bill to be introduced into Parliament for the third time.

The Bill had previously been opposed by civil society and women’s rights organisations and it could not get sufficient votes from the provinces to pass in Parliament. It lapsed in 2014 before the national elections.

Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) president, Kgosi Thobejane, says the TBC's original intended purpose was seeking to recognise and legitimise courts that are presided over by traditional leaders.

Thobejane says public hearings on the Traditional Courts Bill are dominated by scholar and professionals who do not live in affected areas.

He says this then affects what goes into the bill, which is often not what people in rural areas want.

They lobby. They campaign. And of course lobbying is allowed. Unfortunately, when we say we are dealing with rural poor, we were supposed to put an extra deliberate effort to say this should be centered around that particular level.

Kgosi Thobejane, Contralesa president

He says people are also forced to communicate in the language they do not understand.

Thobejane criticises changes in the new bill that traditional courts must be constituted of women and not only men, and promote and protect the representation of women.

The notion of saying the inclusion of men and women in the constitution of this structure, to us means nothing. When we are saying a community, we are referring to all residents irrespective of gender.

Kgosi Thobejane, Contralesa president

This thing of he/she is in English. We don't have such in vernacular.

Kgosi Thobejane, Contralesa president

He says the provision that allows for parties to opt out of the traditional justice system undermines the traditional justice system.

It's a continuation of the discriminatory undermining of the credibility and legitimacy of the very same structure that people are residing in. We were supposed to maintain that the structure will have the similar kind of jurisdiction same as magisterial. I don't remember that you have right to opt out from the magisterial court.

Kgosi Thobejane, Contralesa president

Director of the UCT-based Land and Accountability Research Centre, Aninka Claassens, made it clear that all public hearings they monitored were conducted in vernacular and people clearly articulated issues experienced from their lived experiences.

Claassens said it was untrue that people were denied the opportunity to talk in the vernacular.

She emphasised that the South African law needs to reconnect with the values of most citizens.

In order for the law to be legitimate and valid, it has to connect with values and beliefs of the majority of South Africans she said.

Our current legal system can be rightly accused of not connecting with customary values and practices that actually govern the majority of South Africans.

Aninka Claassens, director of the UCT-based Land and Accountability Research Centre

She says the new bill breaks apartheid boundaries, and it would have been unconstitutional if changes were not made.

You can't impose customary law on people according to apartheid geography. The Constitution provides people to choose the culture and religion of their choice.

Aninka Claassens, director of the UCT-based Land and Accountability Research Centre

She explains people cannot appeal against the judgment of a traditional court, and people often don't have resources to take the process on review.

The problem is how enforceable is that change.

Aninka Claassens, director of the UCT-based Land and Accountability Research Centre

The provision that allows for people to opt out is not a ground for review, so how do you enforce it.

Aninka Claassens, director of the UCT-based Land and Accountability Research Centre

Listen to the full interview below for more information on the bill...

Read More
Govt on campaign to ensure muti traders and healers abide by environmental laws

Govt on campaign to ensure muti traders and healers abide by environmental laws

The Environmental Affairs Dept is running an awareness drive on biodiversity compliance to help educate about environmental laws.

Leaders should take responsibility to combat initiates deaths - Athol Trollip

Leaders should take responsibility to combat initiates deaths - Athol Trollip

Circumcision death toll has risen to 32 this season, with major causes being dehydration and illegal surgeons.

Circumcision death toll rises to 32

Circumcision death toll rises to 32

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) says many deaths occurred in illegal initiation schools.

What did Zuma mean saying, should solve African problems in the Africa way'?

What did Zuma mean saying, should solve African problems in the Africa way'?

Contralesa interprets Zuma's statement of 'African way for Africans''. Law expert Prof. Shadrack Gutto has a different view.

Contralesa upholds freedom of religion, says EC chair

Contralesa upholds freedom of religion, says EC chair

Contralesa has denied reports that it called on Mvezo Chief Mandla Mandela to step down following his recent conversion to Islam.

Does it matter that Mandla Mandela married a Muslim woman?

Does it matter that Mandla Mandela married a Muslim woman?

Contralesa's statement addressing Mandla Mandela's marriage to a woman of Islamic faith has sparked national debate.

Dalindyebo dodges jail, for now

Dalindyebo dodges jail, for now

Abathembu king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, has managed to dodge jail time after the Mthatha High Court granted him a bail extension.

Boys taken to illegal initiation camp, claims father

Boys taken to illegal initiation camp, claims father

An Orange Farm father claims that his son was taken to an illegal initiation school "against his will".

Role of traditional leadership in SA under scrutiny

Role of traditional leadership in SA under scrutiny

The ANC is expected to agree on a united position on the role of traditional leaders at the party's national general council (NGC) meeting.

Initiation policy to accommodate women, Baleni on NUM loss, Fifa latest

Initiation policy to accommodate women, Baleni on NUM loss, Fifa latest

Round up of the big issues out of 702's John Robbie Show and CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies, Africa Melane standing in

Plan B - What's more important; plants or people?

Plan B - What's more important; plants or people?

Future ramifications of statue removals; terribly drafted Traditional Courts Bill; plants vs people; when 'no' means 'yes'...

Popular articles
Home Affairs to follow up on special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans in SA

Home Affairs to follow up on special dispensation permit for Zimbabweans in SA

Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says her department will respond to all Zimbabweans under special dispensation.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

Getting to know MP, Dr Makhosi Khoza

Getting to know MP, Dr Makhosi Khoza

Dr Khoza is admired by South Africans for her role in the SABC inquiry as a ANC member of parliament.

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

10 sexting tips on how to keep things spicy (and safe)

Interested in sexting but worried about the risks? Dr Eve has created a guideline to help you 'sext' in a fun and responsible way.

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?