Public Protector Mkhwebane promises report on Bapo’s lost millions by the end of April

28 Mar 2017| by Sobantu Mzwakali

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane promised in her first meeting with the Bapo Ba Mogale community of North West this week that she would finalise and issue a report on the five-year long investigation into the alleged looting of the mine-hosting community’s resources by the end of April.

She told a rowdy gathering of around 500 community members in the Bapo Tribal Authority Hall in Bapong that evidence of fraud arising from the investigation would be referred to the Hawks and implicated government officials would be dismissed.

Mkhwebane met with the Bapo Ba Mogale community to update them on the investigations, which commenced in 2012, as part of a roadshow through several North West communities. …More »

Coalition demands rejection of MPRDA amendment

10 Feb 2017

A coalition of civil society groups resolved at a meeting on the sidelines of the Alternative Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday (Feb 7) to oppose in every way possible the draft mining law amendment returned to Parliament by President Jacob Zuma in 2015.

President Zuma sent the Bill back to Parliament two years ago mainly because of concerns about the quality of the participation process in which ordinary South Africans should have been given a meaningful opportunity to comment on its provisions.

The Bill is still stuck in the legislature, but the Minister of Mineral Resources and, on Thursday, the President have urged its speedy resolution. …More »

TKLB hearings take a break. Is anyone listening?

06 Feb 2017| by Brendan Boyle

THE second round of public hearings on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) wrapped up in Kokstad last Friday, 3 February, with many delegates wondering whether the parliamentary panel had been listening at all.

TKLB Bill 23 of 2015

After consistent criticism across the country of the way the Bill proposes to recognise and to treat traditional communities, the MPs sent to listen to ordinary people seemed to have heard only the rare statements of support.

…More »

Debating the Traditional Courts Bill – Thobejane and Claassens on 702

02 Feb 2017

A radio debate on Eusebius McKaiser’s 702 talkshow threw a spotlight on key points of controversy in the Traditional Courts Bill, which was reintroduced in Parliament this week.

Listen to the debate here.

The Bill provides for the recognition and regulation of courts convened by traditional leaders.

Kgosi Setlamorogo Thobejane, chairman of the Congress of Traditional Leaders (Contralesa), and Aninka Claassens, director of the Land and Accountability Research Centre at UCT, took contrasting positions on issues including the right to refuse to participate in traditional courts and the need for explicit protections for women in customary law. …More »

Improved but still imperfect Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) back in Parliament

31 Jan 2017

Opening prayer at TKLB hearing in Oudtshoorn, 3 December 2016

THE new draft of the Traditional Courts Bill released by Deputy Minister of Justice John Jeffery last week is better than previous versions, but still far from perfect, Legal Resources Centre attorney Wilmien Wicomb writes in a report for The Huffington Post.

“The new bill introduced on Monday, appears to represent a paradigm shift. I say this with guarded optimism, as we have missed the devilish details of legislation that undermines the rights of rural people in the past, and even on this version some red flags remain. But there is a lot to celebrate,” she writes.

Wicomb, who has tracked the Bill since it was first tabled in 2008, links the TCB to the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) currently being tested in public hearings around the country.

“(The TKLB) is the proposed continuation of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act, confirming and even strengthening the very mechanisms that have disempowered (rural people). If passed, it will destroy much of the good work done on the Traditional Courts Bill. The struggle continues,” Wicomb writes.

Read her analysis on The Huffing Post.



Pledge of precolonial audit is a way to distract from fruits of patronage

13 Mar 2017| by Aninka Claassens

President Jacob Zuma’s “radical” solution to the lack of meaningful land redistribution is to assure traditional leaders the government will expedite a precolonial land audit. How this will provide land and security of tenure to shack dwellers around the cities and to people who need land in rural areas is unclear. It is also not clear how the government will pull off such an audit, given its failure to complete an audit of all the land currently owned by state institutions, despite repeated undertakings to do so.

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“Partnership” trumps consultation in latest proposal to administer South Africa’s traditional communities

09 Feb 2017| by Daniel Huizenga

The Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) currently before Parliament gives sudden prominence to a new concept of “partnership” on communal land, but it makes no provision for the people living on this land to influence the shape of the deals made on their behalf.

The TKLB and is set to replace the 2003 Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (TLGFA). It is currently the subject of public hearings being held across the country.

One of the significant assertions made in submissions at these hearings is that the TKLB entrenches tribal boundaries that were initially drawn as part of the apartheid homeland strategy. At stake are the rights of 18 million rural South Africans who are at risk of becoming subjects – without their consent – of traditional leaders and their councils.

Read Section 24(2)(c) here: TKLB Pg 33

Read Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill here: TKLB Bill 23 of 2015

…More »

Improved Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) needs enforcement mechanisms

31 Jan 2017| by Aninka Claassens

THE new Traditional Courts Bill announced on Monday is an important victory for the rural people who rejected a previous version at public hearings in 2012, and for the provinces who opposed it in the National Council of Provinces.

It is significant that the old Bill was blocked in Parliament in an early example of the kind of parliamentary independence that we are now seeing in relation to the SABC.

Section 76 of the Constitution requires a majority of provinces to pass Bills about customary law. Despite massive government pressure to push it through, only North West caved in to change its vote. But that was not enough when KwaZulu-Natal refused to vote in its favour.

An additional death knell was the brave Parliamentary legal advisor who insisted even after she was refused permission to circulate her memorandum on telling the National Council of Provinces why the Bill was unconstitutional. A lot of people stuck their necks out to defeat the Bill in Parliament, including Lulu Xingwana, who subsequently lost her cabinet position.

The new Bill is major improvement. It no longer relies on apartheid-era tribal boundaries to define the jurisdictional area of traditional courts, and it allows people to opt out of traditional courts, and use other courts and dispute resolution fora instead. …More »

South Africa’s traditional leadership proposal, the TKLB, is desperate and dangerous

06 Dec 2016| by Aninka Claassens

The Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) currently before Parliament is both dangerous and desperately last ditch. It poses a direct threat to the basic rights of the poorest South Africans – the 18 million people living in former homeland areas, where the law would apply – in that it seeks to legalise a version of unilateral chiefly authority that both Parliament and the Constitutional Court have rejected.

The Bill, which is being tested in public hearings across the country, seeks to replace the current Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003, which connects communal land with traditional courts by superimposing apartheid tribal identities on those living in former homeland areas. …More »