The recognition of traditional communities in the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill comes with baggage. The "traditional communities" recognised in the TKLB are those previously called "tribes" under colonialism and apartheid. Tribal authorities were established for them in terms of the 1951 Black Authorities Act, and their territories eventually became the Bantustans. Given this context, the passage of both bills through Parliament should be monitored closely.
While everyone was distracted by Parliament's consideration of the Constitutional Review Committee's report on expropriation without compensation last week, the National Assembly (NA) and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) were hard at work finalising two dangerous laws on traditional leadership.
Last-minute changes to Order Papers, additional committee meetings, and a frenetic atmosphere over the last week suggested a clear intention by Parliament to pass both the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill and the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) before its year-end rising.
Former President Kgalema Motlanthe's High Level Panel on the Review of Legislation last year advised that these bills be withdrawn because of their negative impact on social cohesion, inequality and land...