Traditional Courts Bill back in the spotlight, who is to rule?

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Of the many things evident in South Africa with the advent of the new constitutional dispensation, is the idea of embracing one another’s diverse ways of life, diversity. The Traditional Courts Bill is one of the many forms of diversity in our country, it specifically calls for the recognition of granting traditional leaders extra ruling power, over traditional views.

The bill was however rejected by the NCOP in 2013, the bill was also not passed last year. It has been dubbed as controversial by many, as it raises many issues. For instance, some have argued that granting traditional leaders such power would adversely affect women’s rights in rural communities, where often is, the case that women are in positions of inferiority.

The Minister of Justice, Michael Masutha is positively set on reviving the somewhat controversial bill this will ring well with traditional enthusiasts, amongst others. At an imbizo last month in Limpopo province, the Minister provided that he hopes that the bill will address the issue of access to courts in rural, remote parts of South Africa. Access to courts, is a fundamental constitutionally entrenched right.

The Minister noted that people are shying away from the bill, yet they do not fully grasp the specific needs of rural communities and the bill would address it.

It is worth noting that there are divergent views on the matter. How will it fare this time around? Only time will tell, now we wait for policy makers to hopefully act in the best interests of rural communities.

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