I am from Shitaci village, a traditional community situated in the former Gazankulu Bantustan in the Vhembe district of Limpopo province.
Shitaci village is part of the communities that, in 1956, were incorporated into the Bungeni Tribal Authority following the promulgation of the Bantu (Black) Authorities Act of 1951. I am the chairperson of the Shitaci royal family and therefore I have extensive practical experience on how customary dispute resolutions operate. I am also an advocate and am currently employed as a legal researcher at the Legal Resources Centre.
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Delegates at the Land Divided conference heard powerful pleas – and indictments – from rural representatives, which illuminated the implications of the re-entrenchment of apartheid-era traditional leadership arrangements.
The delegates heard about two communities that successfully resisted the apartheid authorities’ attempts to declare them “black spots” subject to forcible removal, just to be confronted with the Traditional Courts Bill almost two decades into democracy.
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The history of forced removals and Bantustan consolidation lays bare a trajectory of both dispossession and disenfranchisement, starting with the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936 and, ironically, elaborated in a set of post-apartheid laws.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/chiefs-timeless-custom-standing-in-way-of-land-reform/