It emerged at the National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP) Select Committee for Security and Constitutional Development today (15 Oct) that the majority of provincial delegations oppose the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB). Whereas four provinces rejected the Bill previously, five provinces now reject the Bill and only two support it.
Despite this victory for rural people who have consistently opposed the Bill since 2008, the committee today decided to refer the Bill to the provincial legislatures for a third time.
“The decision to bring the TCB back to the NCOP today, a few months before next year’s election, suggests that President Jacob Zuma thinks that traditional leaders can deliver the rural vote. The growing opposition to the TCB shows the opposite: Rural people don’t want the Bantustan version of chiefly power re-imposed on them. This is what elected representatives in the provinces are hearing, which is why the majority of provinces quite rightly are opposing the Bill,” says Dr Aninka Claassens, Director of the Rural Women’s Action Research (RWAR) programme at the Centre for Law and Society, University of Cape Town.
She adds: “If the committee had followed the rules of Parliament they would have voted on the provincial mandates, with the inevitable consequence that the Bill would have been formally rejected.”
The breakdown of opposition and support:
· Provinces against the Bill: Eastern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and Western Cape.
· Provinces in favour of the Bill but suggesting conflicting and wide-ranging amendments: Free State and Northern Cape.
· Provinces undecided about the Bill: KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
For more on the TCB, read: