Parliament Passes Khoi-San Leadership Bill


A bill designed to make provision for the recognition of Khoi-San communities has been passed by parliament and sent to president Ramaphosa for assent.

The Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill was tabled in 2015.

Drawn up by the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department, the bill also seeks to repeal and replace the Framework Act and the National House Act.

According to the bill’s memorandum, the repealing and replacing of the two acts was intended to:

•    Ensure an integrated approach to all matters dealing with traditional affairs;
•    Strengthen the uniform manner in which traditional affairs matters are dealt with across the country; and
•    To address legal uncertainties and gaps identified in the two acts.

Three key objectives of the bill are to:

•    Transform traditional and Khoi-San institutions in line with constitutional principles;
•    Restore the integrity and legitimacy of traditional and Khoi-San leadership institutions in line with customary law and practices; and
•    Protect and promote traditional and Khoi-San leadership institutions.

Other objectives of the bill are, inter alia, to:

• provide for the recognition of traditional and Khoi-San communities, leadership positions and for the withdrawal of such recognition;
• provide for the functions and roles of traditional and Khoi-San leaders;
• provide for the recognition, establishment, functions, roles and administration of kingship or queenship councils, principal traditional councils, traditional councils, Khoi-San councils and traditional sub-councils, as well as the support to such councils;
• provide for the establishment, composition and functioning of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders;
• provide for the establishment of provincial houses of traditional and Khoi-San leaders;
• provide for the establishment and composition of local houses of traditional and Khoi-San leaders;
• provide for the establishment and operation of the Commission on Khoi-San Matters;
• provide for a code of conduct for members of the National House, provincial houses, local houses and all traditional and Khoi-San councils;
• provide for regulatory powers of the Minister and Premiers;
• provide for transitional arrangements;
• amend certain Acts;
• provide for the repeal of legislation; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The bill seeks to ensure that traditional and Khoi-San leadership institutions promote democratic governance; advance gender equality; promote freedom, human dignity and the achievement of equality and non-sexism and strive to enhance tradition and culture.

The NA passed the bill and sent it the NCOP for concurrence in November 2017.

During its deliberations, the select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs amended clause 24 on partnerships and agreements and clause 63 on transitional arrangements.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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