A fifteen minute "highlights package'" from a Dialogue hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory on 30 July 2019.
Facilitated by the Land and Accountability Research Centre (UCT) and the Alliance for Rural Democracy, representatives from rural communities in the former 'Bantustan' homelands gathered to critically assess two highly contentious bills - the Traditional Khoisan Leadership Bill (TKLB) and the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB).
ANC Struggle Veterans Mavuso Msimang, Dr Tim Wilson and veteran Land rights researcher Dr Aninka Claasens sum up the issues, urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to use his Executive prerogative to refer the TKLB to the Constitutional Court for vetting before signing the TKLB into law, and calling for the National Council of Provinces to stop the TCB, notwithstanding the risks of alienating Traditional Leaders who have expectations of greater State power and patronage. Participants agreed that the TCB would elevate Traditional Leaders as Presiding Officers in a parallel justice system that is beyond the orbit of Customary Law.
If the TKLB is signed into law will in turn formally empower Traditional leaders to conclude third party agreements without transparent consultation with rural residents. Seventeen million residents of the former Bantustan areas without security of tenure stand to be again demoted to second class citizenship, as occurred under apartheid.
The laws are manifestly in violation of Section 25 of the Constitution which safeguards informal land rights. But will President Ramaphosa avoid a constitutional showdown? Or will he try to placate Traditional Leaders.