No decision on Traditional Courts Bill

Critics of the Traditional Courts Bill say it gives chiefs too much power.

Traditional leaders in Parliament. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The controversial Traditional Courts Bill has been referred back to the provinces for further discussion.

The bill was supposed to be debated clause by clause by the select committee on security and constitutional development on Tuesday.

Instead it was agreed to refer it back, in a move that disappointed delegates from those provinces opposing the bill.

The bill seeks to regulate traditional courts but many rural communities and women want it scrapped.

They say it gives chiefs too much power and will make them second-class citizens.

Opposition to the bill appears to have heightened, with the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, North West, Western Cape and now also Limpopo against it.

The Free State and the Northern Cape back the bill while KwaZulu-Natal has moved from supporting it to saying it is now unclear.

Mpumalanga wants more time.

With traditional leaders seen as crucial to the rural vote, rumours are rife that President Jacob Zuma wants the bill through as soon as possible.