Johannesburg - Traditional institutions have a role to play in a democracy, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi said on Tuesday.
“There is a space (for them) to play their role,” he said at a New Age breakfast meeting in Fourways, in northern Johannesburg.
He dismissed concerns that the Traditional Courts Bill would not be fair.
“Government cannot pass a law that suppresses other members of society. People should not fear.”
He said those who opted to be exempted from traditional courts were isolating themselves from their communities.
Baloyi said he had been at traditional court proceedings and had not witnessed a situation where people had been discriminated against based on whether they were men or women.
The bill seeks to affirm the values of the traditional justice system, based on restorative justice and reconciliation, and to align them with the constitution.
In terms of the bill, the justice minister may, in the prescribed manner, after consultation with the premier of the province in question, designate a senior traditional leader as the presiding officer of a traditional court.
A traditional court may hear and determine civil disputes arising out of customary law. - Sapa