Beware of Misinformation Campaign on the Traditional Courts Bill

On 29 November a report was compiled by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) titled “Controversial Traditional Courts Bill Withdrawn”, written by Dennis Cruywagen.

The report erroneously states that “The controversial Traditional Courts Bill is to be withdrawn and will not be brought before Parliament any time soon. This was a unanimous decision taken at its last meeting of the year [28 November], by Parliament’s Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development.”

The latest ANC Today Newsletter also misreports that the Bill has been withdrawn.

Members of the Alliance for Rural Democracy were present at the Select Committee meeting, on 28 November, to which the false reports refer. We can confirm that the matter of the Bill’s withdrawal was neither discussed nor decided upon.

The Bill has not been withdrawn and is currently being debated by the provinces. The provincial mandates on the Bill are due to be debated by the Select Committee next year. That the Bill remains firmly on the agenda has also been confirmed by the Select Committee’s Secretary.

“We can only imagine that the ANC is involved in a misinformation campaign aimed at misleading its own members in the run up to the ANC Conference in Mangaung. This underhanded move is precisely because rural people have consistently opposed this Bill”, says Sizani Ngubane of the Rural Women’s Movement, a member of the Alliance.

We call on the GCIS and the ANC to cease this misinformation campaign and issue the necessary corrections in regard to the status of the Bill.

Issued by the Alliance for Rural Democracy, 5 December 2012

For more information contact

  • Sizani Ngubane – Rural Women’s Movement: 073 840 5151
  • Aninka Claassens – Law, Race and Gender Research Unit: 084 510 2333

The Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD) is a cross-section of civil society organisations sharing a common concern about the detrimental effects that the Traditional Courts Bill will have on the rural constituencies they serve and support.

The ARD includes the following organisations:

  • Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA)
  • Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
  • Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape (CLC)
  • Corruption Watch
  • Co-operative Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC)
  • Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC)
  • Democratic Governance and Rights Unit, University of Cape Town (DGRU)
  • Embrace Dignity Campaign
  • Empilisweni AIDS Education and Training Centre
  • Greater Rape Intervention Programme (GRIP)
  • Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR)
  • Justice and Women (JAW)
  • Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA)
  • Law Race and Gender Research Unit, University of Cape Town (LRG)
  • Lesbian and Gay Equality Project
  • Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre
  • Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
  • Rural People’s Movement
  • Rural Women’s Movement
  • Rural Health Advocacy Project
  • Section 27
  • Sonke Gender Justice
  • South African Constitutional Literacy and Service Initiative (CLASI)
  • Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ)
  • Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Project (TVEP)
  • Treatment Action Campaign (TAC)
  • Triangle Project
  • Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC)
  • Unemployed People’s Movement
  • Women’s Health Research Unit in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town
  • Women’s Legal Centre Trust.
  • The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) acts as legal advisor to the Alliance.