Yesterday marked the opening of Parliament for one of our shorter legislative periods leading up to national elections in May this year. This means that Parliament will be working hard to finalize pending legislation before it lapses in terms of the rules of Parliament.
The Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) is close to finalization, with only two procedural steps remaining before it goes to the President for final signing into law.
The surprise sitting on 10 January, where the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed the TKLB, indicates clearly that Parliament’s intention is to finalize this Bill before elections.
This is concerning because the TKLB poses a number of threats to land rights and democracy, particularly for people living in rural areas of the former homelands. This bill, for all practical purposes, will impose a separate governance system on the 17 million South Africans living in the former Bantustans. This bill would also allow for land occupied by ordinary families to be used by multinational corporations, including mining companies, without proper community consultation or consent. Khoi and San communities deserve recognition, but this bill will undermine their rights too.
The Stop the Bantustan Bills Campaign demands that the President and the National Assembly put a stop to this Bill and protect the land rights of rural citizens who remain the most marginalized in our democracy. The TKLB is undemocratic and unconstitutional!