Why the Traditional Courts Bill is problematic

Many parts of the Traditional Courts Bill are outdated and problematic, says social justice activist and public policy expert Sindiso Mnisi Weeks.

The controversial Traditional Courts Bill has been before Parliament for hearings once again.

Weeks says legislation needs to be updated to be more consistent with the constitutional era and to recognise traditional forums as they exist today.

In the past, government has not practically or effectively reflected the inputs made by the public, she explains.

While the Traditional Courts Bill was updated last year, Weeks says some parts of the legislation are still not up to scratch.

Read: New Traditional Courts Bill undermines traditional structures - Contralesa

Weeks says the laws don't allow for agency or free expression of culture outside of pre-colonial ideas of tradition.

The traditional courts have been governed since 1927 by the Black Administration Act.

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks - Assistant Professor o Public Policy of Excluded Populations at the University of Massachusetts Boston

It's very old and very out of date with the reality of traditional courts right now.

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks - Assistant Professor o Public Policy of Excluded Populations at the University of Massachusetts Boston

It's always been out if step with the way that traditional courts function.

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks - Assistant Professor o Public Policy of Excluded Populations at the University of Massachusetts Boston

It needs to be more consistent with the democratic era, and value and recognise traditional communities which exist in terms of their cultural identities.

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks - Assistant Professor o Public Policy of Excluded Populations at the University of Massachusetts Boston

She raises several issues about the bill, including its limits on traditional leadership models, and how it neglects to protect and provide for women.

Take a listen to her expert opinion and analysis:


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