Some traditional courts not constitutional

By Drum Digital
26 April 2013

Some traditional courts in South Africa are not complying with the values enshrined in the Constitution, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said on Thursday.

"What we need to do is to make sure the traditional courts are restructured in such a way as to make them constitutionally compliant. They must comply to the extent that women are included," he said at the annual human rights law lecture in Stellenbosch.

He said people in these courts needed to be properly resourced and trained to do simple tasks such as write and take minutes.

"We also have to empower the judicial officers, the traditional leader."

He said he would urge Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi to re-establish royal academies in this regard.

"[Just] because you know you are royalty or you are definitely going to be a traditional leader, you can't just wake up and because you are born into a royal house, be able to lead properly," he said.

"You must be trained... on how to run a traditional court properly. There must be procedure."

On the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, he said he had told Justice Minister Jeff Radebe that he would be very aggressive in seeking to have an independent court administration.

"I think the [justice] department won't be redundant but its functions will be significantly reduced."

He said that following the passing of relevant bills in Parliament, the department would still be responsible for constitutional development, have oversight over the National Prosecuting Authority and have some responsibility in initiating legislation.

"The truth of the matter is that core functions of the department now will be taken away in the long term and that is the trend...That must be the case. There can't be any other option."

-by Sapa

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