'Traditional Courts Bill would deny rights of the people and they'd have no say'

What is the role of traditional leadership in our constitutional democracy especially on matters affecting local communities?

The Traditional Courts Bill aims to give traditional courts the power to resolve civil and criminal disputes between observers of customary law.

[RELATED] The adoption of the 'progressive' Traditional Courts Bill explained

But critics are arguing this bill only denies the rights and dignities of the people in rural communities.

To discuss this bill, Bongani Bingwa chats to University of Johannesburg political studies, Professor Steven Friedman.

The bill would deny the rights of the people and they'd have absolutely no say, in whether they are going to be subjected to court where there is no legal right of representation.

Professor Steven Friedman, Political studies - UJ

Friedman says this means that if a person lives in a traditional area, they can be put on trial in a traditional court 'whether they like it or not'.

The whole purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the power of the chief. And if the capabilities of the chief are strengthened because a law forces people to submit to their authority even though we live in a democracy, that is a severe problem.

Professor Steven Friedman, Political studies - UJ

He adds that the irony of this situation is that the desire to strengthen the powers of chiefs is costing the African National Congress votes.

Listen below to the full interview:


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