PARLIAMENT CONTINUES TO FAIL RURAL WOMEN – ARD WILL CHALLENGE THE TRADITIONAL AND KHOI-SAN LEADERSHIP ACT
Dateline: JOHANNESBURG, September 13
After months of protests, mass actions, pickets, sit-ins and all other forms of resistance, the President signed the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act (TKLA) in December 2020. The TKLA gives statutory recognition to Cape-Khoi, Griqua, Koranna, Nama or San people, or any subgrouping thereof. The Stop Bantustans Campaign, an initiative of the Alliance for Rural Democracy together with allied individuals, organizations and movements celebrates and applauds this progressive step by Parliament for members of Khoi-San communities to be given statutory acknowledgment and respect.
At the same time, the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act does fails to protect the rights and dignity of rural South Africans, more especially women living in traditional communities. It is a devastating blow to our democracy. The TKLA repeals many laws that govern traditional leadership for black South Africans living in traditional communities and continues to treat rural people as second-class citizens. In fact, many of the laws and policies that the Stop The Bantustans campaign is opposing further entrench inequality and fails to uphold the key principles of our constitutional democracy. Under Section 24 of the TKLA as rural women, we should merely be consulted about our land rights before a traditional leader can enter into a deal with a third party. It is common cause that rural women do not enjoy the same protections as men – this is not unique to South Africa.
The Alliance for Rural Democracy is taking the decision to give instructions to lawyers to address these failures of Parliament. In spite of all our efforts, Parliament proceeded to enact the TKLA with effect from 01 April 2021. In so doing, rural women have no option but to continue to fight for our right to be heard, consulted, and to consent to any deals that are entered into by a traditional leader on behalf of our communities. The laws and practices that govern matrimonial property rights illustrate the systemic discrimination endured by black rural women.
The TKLA has stripped us of our dignity, our identify, our natural resources, and our land rights. We cannot sit and be silent whilst we see these failures of Parliament. Throughout the law making processes which have lead to the enactment of the TKLA, we have raised our objections. Today, as rural women we say that we will no longer remain silent. Our voice will be heard. We refuse to endure the Bantustan-system of separate democracy for rural and urban people. We believe in equality, justice and one South Africa for all!
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