Parliament, Tuesday, 13 March 2018 – The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services today began public hearings on the Traditional Courts Bill. The committee expressed concerns regarding the time it took to draft the Bill, considering it still has serious gaps.
Committee Chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga said the committee is disappointed that it took more than 10 years to produce the Bill. “Yet, it does not seem to do what the people of South Africa had concerns with years ago. It does not address the matters raised during the previous time the Bill was before Parliament.”
The committee heard a presentation from the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Efficiency Enhancement Commission and the Alliance for Rural Democracy. Concerns were raised by presenters that the Bill indicates that reviews of traditional courts will be done by the High Court. The committee heard that this process can be cumbersome and unaffordable, as litigation in the High Court is costly. References to the role of women’s participation in traditional courts, where it states women “may”, were also highlighted by some as problematic.
Other concerns highlighted were the lack of enforcement against those who breach the code of conduct and also of sanctions against presiding officers who abuse power. The lack of recourse to legal representations for complainants was another concern.
Dr Motshekga assured the public that all comments will be taken into account and the committee will consult the public as widely as possible. Public hearings continue tomorrow.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, DR MATHOLE MOTSHEKGA
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