‘Scrap the Traditional Courts Bill’

2012-09-22 18:41
Xolani Mbanjwa
The South African Local Government Association’s (Salga) Women’s Commission will lobby legislators, government, Chapter 9 institutions and the National Council of Provinces to push for the scrapping of the controversial Traditional Courts Bill.

The call to scrap the bill and start afresh was made at the commission’s four-day lekgotla in Ekurhuleni this week where women mayors, councillors and municipal officials singled out the bill as a “dangerous” precedent that will undo the gains made in gender equality since the dawn of democracy.

Salga director of community development Antoinette Richardson told City Press women local government representatives feared that the bill would regress the strides made in gender parity “in a dangerous way”.

“This is a scary piece of legislation that does not belong in South Africa or anywhere else. This bill will allow rural women to be held at ransom to a patriarchal system where women are often not allowed to address the chief, who is the presiding officer, or address them sitting down,” said Richardson.

Councillor Flora Maboa-Boltman, Salga chairperson of community development, warned that the women’s constitutional rights would be compromised if the bill were enacted into law.

Sarah Nkatlo, a councillor from Dr Kenneth Kaunda Municipality in North West, said the bill must not see the light of day.

“The bill spells disaster for women. Women are at risk because these courts have a history of inflicting fear in women not to speak out and the courts are usually run by men who see assertive women as arrogant,” said Nkatlo.

» In City Press on Sunday: What was said during a heated discussion in Parliament this week on the Chiefs Bill.