PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
blindfoldedcynic
 
Comments: 20
Article views: 657
 
 
Latest Badges:


 
View all blindfoldedcynic's badges.
 

Two Systems of Law?

07 November 2012, 07:42

The proposal to introduce traditional or customary law courts for large swathes of South African territory is surely a threat to democracy in South Africa.

The idea is that pre-colonial African justice systems (with no legal representation, no prosecution teams, no defense teams and no right of appeal) should be applied to tribal lands ruled over by traditional chiefs and should take precedence over or substitute the laws and legal system supposedly enshrined in the Constitution. This would directly affect some 18 million citizens – at least half of whom would be women who, under traditional law have very few, if any, rights and are often (as with mediaeval feudal law of Europe) treated as mere chattels to be utilized at the whim of men.

In a recent speech President Zuma appeared to support and promote the entire concept, speaking of the preference of solving “African problems the African way” rather than doing things, as presently, “the White Man’s” way.

The racial overtones aside, the President’s intervention is highly questionable given that he, of all citizens, is legally bound (by way of his Presidential Oath of Office) to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. It is also highly questionable since the proposal, in the form of a Bill, is still a process in motion and his comments and apparent support are clearly prejudicial to its evaluation as a possible law of the land.

Notwithstanding the procedural issues, it is the concept itself that deeply troubles me.

The Constitution gives more than a passing nod to some traditional law, under certain circumstances, but only under the precedence and supremacy of the Constitution as the guiding and governing law of the country. It is difficult to imagine the mindset that will then permit a totally different system of law to operate in parallel with the existing system.

How would jurisdictional issues be decided – and in favour of which system?

How would the traditional laws be policed and by whom? South Africa already has extreme difficulty policing crime under the existing system.

How would the country be prevented from fragmenting and dividing (territorially, politically and culturally) as a result of two fundamentally differing legal systems being in place? This, surely, is a return to the old homelands policies of the Apartheid government, to say nothing of the dispossession of the human rights of millions of women and children in the country.

And, once having permitted an alternative and parallel legal system to be emplaced, would not the precedent then allow the introduction of other alternative systems to be introduced – such as, for example, Islamic Sharia law?

A final question: with the introduction of such a fundamental change to our Constitution, should not the entire question be subject to a national referendum rather than to the uncertain motives of a political party, already under intense scrutiny and criticism over its failing policies and overall lack of administrative abilities, uncomfortably close to a two-thirds majority in Parliament necessary to change the Constitution unilaterally?


Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
20 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Aghora
Civil Society vs Government and R...

Government world-wide is showing itself to be incapable of dealing with the problems facing society.  Read more...

8 comments 64 views
Submitted by
Revelgen
The ANC does not know how to gove...

21 years on, it has been conclusively proven: the ANC does not know how to govern properly.  Read more...

7 comments 117 views
Submitted by
Moses Mncwabe
South Africa is a salad-bowl not ...

In 1994 when South Africa untied itself from the shackles of apartheid to the democratic dispensation, it was endowed with positive and inspirational names such as a miracle nation, rainbow nation and salad-bowl.  Read more...

3 comments 279 views
Submitted by
Thulane Che Trosky637
Open Letter to The President and ...

As taxi operators within the circumambient ambit of the abovementioned two provincial areas, we herewith wish to lodge with you a series of serious complaints that are affecting our business detrimentally. Read more...

0 comments 48 views
Submitted by
Lalit N Taparia
What All I Learnt In My First Yea...

Wedding is the celebration of love to be shared by two individuals with the blessings of God and all well wishers.  Read more...

3 comments 486 views
Submitted by
Ian Martin
Plug Invents The Dumpmeter

Frikkie’s fortune ran out very quickly. When he was forced to sell the Beemer the Lord appeared to Eva and told her Welgemoed was one of those individuals who made the Lord doubt his own infallibility and wonder if Satan hadn’t pulled a fast one on Him.  Read more...

0 comments 72 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2015 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.