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Traditional Courts Bill not worth the paper it's written on

Traditional Courts Bill not worth the paper it's written on

Parliament's Justice Committee said the Traditional Courts Bill was not worth the paper it was written on, despite its authors spending the greater part of a decade drafting it.

Portfolio Chair, Mathole Motshekga, said there were still serious gaps in the the Bill. It was a massive disappointment for the Committee, which began with public hearings on the Bill Tuesday.

"It does not seem to do what the people of South Africa had concerns with years ago. It does not address the matters raised during the previous time the Bill was before Parliament," said Motshekga.

Spearheading this campaign are the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Efficiency Enhancement Commission and the Alliance for Rural Democracy. They presented the Bill to Parliament on Tuesday.

Central to the storm is the review process for traditional courts, which is still expected to be conducted in the High Court. That will be costly and cumbersome. Secondly, there is the small matter of participation from women.

Both are just not adequately addressed, which presents a Constitutional problem.

"References to the role of women's participation in traditional courts, where it states women 'may', were also highlighted by some as problematic," added Motshekga.

"Other concerns highlighted were the lack of enforcement against those who breach the code of conduct and also of sanctions against presiding officers who abuse power. The lack of recourse to legal representations for complainants was another concern."

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