“One size fits all” Traditional Courts Bill negates rural diversity

The centenary of the Natives Land Act of 1913 offers the opportunity for critical reflection on its material and social legacies that continue to shape the lives of millions of South Africans. This moment also demands interrogation of current and proposed legislation on land, especially how present state interventions respond to past injustices.

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Constitutional Court’s finding against Pilane affirms rural people’s rights

Recently the Mail and Guardian’s legal columnist picked up on the importance of the Constitutional Court’s decision on 28 February 2013 to strike down a set of interdicts prohibiting meetings in the Bakgatla baKgafela traditional community of Mothlabe village in North West province.

At stake in this case is far more than who has the ability to call meetings among the Bakgatla baKgafela. As has been commented, it has broad implications for people’s ability to hold traditional leaders accountable and, ultimately, who can access natural resources, including valuable minerals like platinum.

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Silencing rural voices contradicts bottom-up customary decision-making

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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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/silencing-rural-voices-contradicts-bottom-up-customary-decision-making/

“Here I stand; I am my own chief”

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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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/here-i-stand-i-am-my-own-chief/

Chiefs’ “timeless custom” standing in way of land reform

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.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/chiefs-timeless-custom-standing-in-way-of-land-reform/