Michael Mpofu

DA LEADER Helen Zille has accused President Jacob Zuma of using the Traditional Courts Bill as a means to rally support for the ANC electoral conference in Mangaung in December.

She said the timing of the bill, which would give senior traditional leaders the ability to make law, preside over disputes and enforce punitive measures, was strategic and calculated.

Zuma had “done his arithmetic” in an effort to “enlarge the size of his corner”.

“The timing of the legislation is questionable and may very well be construed as an attempt by President Zuma to buy political patronage in the run-up to the ANC’s elective conference,” she said.

Zille, who was speaking at a media briefing on the bill yesterday, said the DA opposed it as it reinforced apartheid era homelands.

But ANC MP Patekile Holomisa dismissed the idea that Zuma was using the bill to rally support.

Holomisa, president of the Congress of Traditional Leaders, said the bill was necessary because traditional courts continued to operate, but were functioning in terms of laws that were not in line with the constitution. “People should stop thinking from the point of view of whites,” he added.