n South African Journal on Human Rights - Democracy in action : the demise of the Traditional Courts Bill and its implications : discourse and debate

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



In February 2014, following years of resistance, the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB), was allowed to lapse in Parliament. This followed intense opposition by citizens in rural areas, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD) and other institutions in the public consultations held by Parliament on the Bill. Despite significant structural and procedural obstacles to participation in these consultations, including the fact that the state assisted only traditional leaders to attend public hearings, many people in rural areas gave eloquent inputs on the Bill. Even though the official word is that the Bill simply lapsed, this is a direct consequence of this national resistance. It is a victory for the thousands of people who opposed the Bill, for the millions of people who will not be forced to live under the separate legal system that the Bill had proposed, and for South Africa's democratic structures which demonstrated responsiveness to public outcry.

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