The Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) is flawed in its present form, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) said on Monday.
“The TCB as it currently stands violates fundamental constitutional provisions and is therefore fatally flawed,” spokesman Lawson Naidoo said in a statement.
Casac was responding to comments by Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) president Nkosi Pathekile Holomisa and Chief Mangosutho Buthelezi regarding the proposed legislation.
“Holomisa mischievously misconstrues opposition to the TCB as an attack on the institution of traditional leadership...,” Naidoo said.
Casac was of the view that the recognition of customary law was important for strengthening constitutional democracy, provided its implementation was guided by the Constitution.
Naidoo said the national council of provinces (NCOP) in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, North West and Western Cape had rejected the TCB in its entirety. KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo supported the Bill but wanted it amended.
Mpumalanga requested a three-month extension to finalise its position on the TCB.
Casac appealed to the NCOP to formulate legislation that affirmed the place of customary law within the provisions of the Constitution in keeping with the principle of “one law for one nation in a unitary state”.
“We appeal to all leaders... including political parties, traditional leaders and elected representatives to engage in a manner that encourages all South Africans to voice their opinions, without fear or favour, and in an atmosphere free of intimidation,” Naidoo said. - Sapa