Xingwana: Traditional practices harmful

2012-08-01 17:44

Cape Town - Women should raise their voices and give input when the overhauled traditional courts bill is introduced, Women's Minister Lulu Xingwana said on Wednesday.

She said in Cape Town her relentless opposition to the contentious legislation would continue, adding that the bill would not pass constitutional muster.

"For instance, the bill is set to promote all cultural practices and not all cultural practices are good for our communities, especially our women and children," she told reporters on the first day of Women's Month.

She singled out the practices of "ukuthwala" and "ukungenwa".

Ukuthwala refers to young girls being abducted and forced into marriage, often with the consent of their parents.

Ukungenwa is the practice whereby a widowed woman automatically becomes her brother-in-law's wife.

"We have many harmful traditional practices that we cannot protect and promote," she said.

Xingwana said the legislation did not give women an opt-out clause.

Currently, women could choose whether they wanted to access a traditional court or a magistrate's court, but they would not have this option under the proposed law, Xingwana said.

The Traditional Courts Bill has come under fire from various gender rights groups.

In May, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille called for the bill to be scrapped because it undermined women's rights and reinforced apartheid-era homeland powers.

Zille came under fire from the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa), the African National Congress, and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Contralesa told the DA not to "meddle" in the affairs of Africans, while the IFP and the ANC could not understand why there was so much opposition to the bill.

Xingwana vowed that the bill would not become law.

"Women were not consulted when this bill was drafted and this is the biggest outcry from women," she said.

Xingwana said the Commission on Gender Equality had given its input, but that none of its concerns had been taken into consideration before the bill was drafted.

  • vuyani.bonga - 2012-08-01 17:59

    I watched third degree when they discussed this very issue and must say that it is stupid bill and it is undermining women as I know that women are treated horrible as it is now for reasons stupid as \it is part of our culture\.

      godfrey.welman - 2012-08-01 18:32

      It's about ANC giving traditional leaders power in exchange for votes.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-08-01 18:21

    In many cultures people have no rights. The two practices mentioned in the story are just a scratch on the surface - what of male and female genital mutilation? If our maker had wanted us to have bits missing, he would have made us that way - with bits missing. Human bodies are perfectly designed by the creator to perform their natural functions. Putting rings around women's necks - effectively crippling them, putting huge plates through their lips, so they can rest their lips on their husbands shoulders when they sleep - the husbands know they have not run away ... Cutting and scarring beautiful normal healthy skin, tying stones to little boys penises. This is frequently done to little children who have no say whatsoever. I can hear someone say BUT there are millions of folks that elect to cut pieces off themselves or perform bizarre implants or piercings - but the difference there is that they do this voluntarily - they choose to do so. It is not forced on them. Our lives and our bodies should belong to us and us alone.

  • Phelamanga - 2012-08-01 18:39

    It would be interesting to see how the patriarchal CONTRALESA will view premarital sex and adultery. If the traditional laws were applied to their full extent on both genders, a positive outcome may be that a male who impregnates a woman other than his legal wife, should be made to pay compensation to the woman's family as it was done traditionally, or in some cases, where the woman was of royal lineage,the man was put to death. Thieves were thrown off high cliffs and rapists were beaten to death with knobkerries. If applied evenly and in strict accordance to pre-colonial tradition, crime will drop dramatically and so will the population. In Zuma's pandering for votes, he may have unleashed a forgotten terror that's best left in the past. African history was not utopian. It was quite ruthless when traditional boundaries were crossed. What about twins? One or both used to be killed. Daughters were sold into slavery and old people were left in the bush for the wild animals. Perhaps traditional leaders should be forced to make their lands self-sufficient and profitable before they can pass judgement, thereby ensuring that their subjects are educated and employed in making the territory commercially viable. One only has to look at the royals abroad to see how they have used their lands and influence to the benefit of all citizens. This bill is an anathema to the 21st century and relies on unreliable data. It's legislated dictatorship.

  • dumine.jacobs - 2012-08-01 19:16

    I've said it once and I'll say it again. You are setting yourselves up for a lot of heartache if you try to balance modern and traditional practices. You either embrace the future and leave these traditions behind or you wave goodbye to the advancement of your race and live in your traditional lifestyle. As modern people sharing this planet with each other we should respect the freedom of choice with regards to culture. But it comes at a price. I'm not saying one culture is better than another, I'm just saying pick one and stick to it. But be aware that other cultures might not be so keen to do business with you if they have to trek through the mud with their shiny shoes!

  • Vince.York - 2012-08-01 21:02

    Could Lulu be the missing 'John Galt'?

      grootrot.vanzyl - 2012-08-01 23:48

      Too rich for the average reader Vince. Anyhow, who is John Galt ;) ?

      Vince.York - 2012-08-02 06:52

      Grootrot!:- search and thee shall find, promptly - or simply quickly go through all of Ayn Rand's work

  • jeremy.beckett.79 - 2012-08-30 22:01

    The poor sheeple of South Africa are getting exactly what they voted for. A Mugabe style money and power grab that will ultimately lead to a state tyranny that will make apartheid seem like a walk in the park. Blame and retrospective commentary from the mouthpiece of the ANC Beast will divert attention from the grab. Tyrannical laws like the cultural laws, Info bill will stimulate fear and encourage separation of cultures in the same way as the Apartheid system used during its construction. Likewise these fearful laws will take up much time from opposition thereby diluting the governance within W Cape. It seems the ANC has its very of Vervoerd and Malan as architects for the oh newly elected force for new South African oppression and repression. Malema is such an obvious tool, Zuma such an obvious instrument for ANC totalitarianism. I bet White, Indian and Coloured owned property are the next targets of the cANCer grab it party. Whilst the world tries to create a better place for all to live, the wANCer party just wants to make safer place for its disciples to thieve in. May Karma find you and show you the error of your greed.

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