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23 May 2017
Article by: News24Wire
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The latest version of the Traditional Courts Bill is a promising start, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.

But, despite improvements, it remained problematic on several levels, DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said.

"In particular, the rights of women and children will have to be scrutinised and fiercely protected in a largely patriarchal system that traditionally did not allow equal access to traditional justice. This is simply non-negotiable."

The bill would be examined to ensure it brought customary law in line with the principles enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, she said.

It would have to allow for the development of customary law within the principles of the Bill of Rights, and allow for access to the Constitutional Court for this purpose.

On Monday, Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery introduced the latest version of the bill, which he said would be tabled in Parliament as soon as possible. The latest draft promoted and encouraged the involvement of women, rather than enforcing it, he said.

While women would be allowed full participation in traditional courts, some might choose not to, and could thus not be forced.

Breytenbach said the party would do everything in its power to ensure every single aspect of the bill was in line with the Constitution.

Edited by: News24Wire
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