Apartheid distortions of customary law rob women of land rights – and livelihoods

Mobilisation against the Traditional Courts Bill brought together women living in often remote rural areas around the country. In sharing their experiences with one another in meetings and workshops, what repeatedly emerged was how precarious their rights to land are. Here we tell the stories of Dudu Xaba and Cazile Hadebe, two women whose land tenure insecurity threatens their very existence. Their stories, two among many, show what is at stake when Parliament fails to meet its constitutional mandate to redress the land crisis created by the Bantustan system, and at the same time passes laws that bolster chiefly power.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/apartheid-distortions-of-customary-law-rob-women-of-land-rights-and-livelihoods/

Rural people remain in limbo waiting for CLaRA’s replacement

Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti’s comments at the Land Divided Conference in March 2013 triggered warning bells about the continued legal void regarding communal land tenure.

This lacuna creates an environment where “people in rural communities are not able to have security of tenure, to have CPAs [Communal Property Associations] and to make sure that all these things… function because traditional leaders block them,” political analyst and gender activist Nomboniso Gasa pointed out after Nkwinti’s speech.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/rural-people-remain-in-limbo-waiting-for-claras-replacement/

Struggles to assert self-definition against ascribed tribal identities

One of the earliest lessons I learned as a student of history is that there is no singular history. Instead, multiple histories are produced and exist alongside and intersect with each other, representing different perspectives and accounts of events. Similarly, there is no one version of identity, knowledge or culture – there are knowledges, cultures and identities. Each reflects different relationships to, and expressions of, power.

These tensions around singular and plural versions of identity are made visible in current and proposed legislation on customary law, both in the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (TLGFA) of 2003 and the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB), currently before parliament. The TLGFA asserts the exact boundaries used to make up the Bantustans under the 1951 Black Authorities Act. The TCB, if adopted, would centralise power in traditional leaders, allowing them to be the sole interpreters of customary law and denying people within the TLGFA boundaries the right of opting out of traditional courts to use state courts.The boundaries related to these two pieces of legislation have drawn wide criticism, especially from people who would live within them. This is because these boundaries limit localised, diverse expressions of identity and community to impose standardised structures that are often inconsistent with groups’ histories and current forms of self-identification.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/struggles-to-assert-self-definition-against-ascribed-tribal-identities/

Let the amaMpondo people decide who’s their king

South Africa has lost a king. Media reports tell of how 71-year-old King Mpondombini Sigcau, leader of the amaMpondo aseQaukeni, suffered a stroke and died in hospital less than a week later. His funeral was an official provincial event in the Eastern Cape and he was lauded by members of government, including President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi, for his service to the country. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/let-the-amampondo-people-decide-whos-their-king/

Imposed tribal boundaries lock democracy out

The Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act (Framework Act) was enacted in 2003. It was the first of a “package” of new laws entrenching the powers of traditional leaders. In essence, the Framework Act goes no further than to establish the structures, boundaries and hierarchy of state-recognised traditional leaders (chiefs), traditional communities (tribes) and traditional councils (tribal authorities).

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.customcontested.co.za/imposed-tribal-boundaries-lock-democracy-out/

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