15 October – Substantially flawed Traditional Courts Bill back before NCOP


After almost a year of no movement, the TCB has suddenly reappeared on the agenda of the National Council of Provinces’ select committee for security and constitutional development. The Bill is to be discussed clause by clause on Tuesday 15 October after the process stalled in November 2012.

“The widespread opposition to the Bill shows that no clause-by-clause discussion can fix what is fundamentally wrong with this Bill. It has to be withdrawn in its entirety,” says Thuto Thipe, Researcher at the Rural Women’s Action Research (RWAR) Programme at the Centre for Law and Society, University of Cape Town.

According to Dr Aninka Claassens, Director of RWAR, “this is effectively the same Bill as was first introduced to the National Assembly in 2008. This Bill’s substantial content and the procedure followed in its drafting are beyond repair. In spite of its many flaws, the ANC seems intent on ramming it through. One can only assume that it aims to please traditional leaders in the run-up to the election next year. But this is a false promise, as this Bill will not stand up to constitutional scrutiny.”

She adds: “In the face of the storm of protest that the Bill elicited, both President Jacob Zuma and Minister Jeff Radebe made far-reaching concessions about inherent problems and the need for major changes over a year ago. Yet it is the flawed original version that is once again before the NCOP.”

Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi, Senior Researcher at RWAR, adds that, “pushing the Bill through would be a slap in the face of the many rural communities that have gone to great lengths to attend the public hearings and who have opposed the Bill consistently since 2008.”

At tomorrow’s (Tuesday) meeting, the nine provincial delegations will again present their mandates and decisions will be taken clause by clause. These mandates, formulated after public participation, were first presented to the committee way back on 30 May 2012.

  • · Provinces against the Bill: Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the North West.
  • · Provinces in favour of the Bill but suggesting conflicting and wide-ranging amendments: Limpopo, Free State, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
  • · Mpumalanga requested an extension to further deliberate on the Bill.

Instead of considering the mandates, the committee controversially considered re-opening the provincial consultation process. However, MPs rejected this proposal, after which it was decided to embark upon a national consultation process. The committee’s summary of the national hearings was distributed to provincial delegations at its last meeting on the Bill in November 2012.

Details of meeting on Tuesday 15 October:

Venue: Good Hope Chamber, Good Hope Building, Parliament, Cape Town. Time: 10am-1pm

For further comment:

Dr Aninka Claassens 084 510 2333

Thuto Thipe 076 582 9467

Dr Mbongiseni Buthelezi 082 521 4795

For more on what is at stake for ordinary South Africans, visit:


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