Jacob Zuma Backs Traditional Courts Instead of “White Man’s Way”

Aislinn Laing, Telegraph (London), November 4, 2012

Jacob Zuma, the South African president, has issued a ringing endorsement of traditional courts, saying that problems should be resolved “the African way, not the white man’s way”.

Mr Zuma, a proud Zulu who himself subscribes to traditional practices such as polygamy, said that those living in rural communities in South Africa found the traditional justice system a better way of resolving their disputes.

“Prisons are done by people who cannot resolve problems,” he was quoted as saying by South Africa’s Times newspaper.

“Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way. Let us not be influenced by other cultures and try to think the lawyers are going to help.

“We have never changed the facts. They tell you they are dealing with cold facts. They will never tell you that these cold facts have warm bodies.”

His comments have caused consternation among lawyers, opposition politicians, civil society groups and women’s’ formations in his own party who have slated the Traditional Courts Bill currently making its way through parliament.

It seeks to formalise a system whereby 18 million people living in rural areas fall under the jurisdiction of tribal chiefs and village councils who will rule on civil and criminal matters, issuing penalties including forced labour and fines of sheep, cattle and food. In some cases, they will be able to strip offenders of “traditional benefits” such as access to land, thereby denying them food and shelter.

The bill is championed by the influential Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, which has hinted that its support for a second term for Mr Zuma at the ANC’s December elective conference depends on it.

But it has been staunchly opposed in a series of public consultations because it bases traditional court jurisdictions along the apartheid-era “tribal homeland” boundaries, forces people to accept customary laws which are currently consensual and denies them the right to legal representation enshrined in South Africa’s constitution.

Lulu Xingwana, Mr Zuma’s Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, has called for it to be redrafted altogether amid concerns of how women will be treated given traditional patriarchal rules.

“It’s oppressive to women and discriminatory,” she told a parliamentary hearing in September. “Why are we taking our people back to the dark ages?”

In an official speech on Wednesday to the National House of Traditional Leaders, which sits beside MPs in parliament, Mr Zuma acknowledged “genuine concerns” raised about the bill in public consultations.

He called for the bill to be strengthened to protect the rights of women and ensure all South Africans had access to all forms of justice.

But in unscripted comments made after the speech, he made clear his preference for an “African” courts system.

Desmond Lesejane, of the Alliance for Rural Democracy which has called for the bill to be withdrawn, said the president’s comments did not surprise him.

“The Ministry of Justice has made clear that it will ignore much of what came from the public consultations and this would explain why their officials are so insistent on this,” he said.

The alliance, which brings together some of South Africa’s biggest civil society groups in opposition to the bill, claims the bill even ignores traditional cultural practices, by doing away with the old tiered system of traditional courts to give one person, often a political appointee, unilateral power.

“President Zuma can push for tradition but this is a corrupted version of cultural practices,” he said.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D7BX764AFX7YRN57CDP7IRUMNE Darryl

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    The 2 bottom photos deal with Peter Higgs, and his Large Hadron Collider. Being a fellow Scot, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, yes, we Whites have nother to offer, just civilization, technology, peace, prosperity– we hold life in our hands, but hey– blacks contribute too! I can’t think of anything at the moment, but I’ll let you know!

  • nathan wartooth

    This is why we need to promote nationalism for everyone. 

    If Blacks want to rule themselves through tribal customs how are we to say that it is wrong? What they do in Africa is their own business, as long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else. 

    The western court system was not designed with Blacks in mind. Their tribal system will probably be more effective since it’s so brutal and harsh. They know what it takes to keep their fellow Blacks in line. How are we to argue with them? 

    Also I love that one of the people who oppose it says that they should not be taken back to the dark ages. The dark ages? You mean before the White man came and showed you how to live in a civilized way? That’s racist!

    • FourFooted_Messiah

      Aye.  But if we banned stupid stuff like Sharia parallel-courts and such, and said “One law for all, and it’s going to be the white man’s way in a white man’s country”, oh, my, can you hear the shrieks now?

      It’s bad enough the Canadian government is looking to legalize polyugamy – the cover story is how to deal with the breakaway polygamist Morons in Bountiful, BC … but of course, Muslims and Africans are the real concern here.  The Morons should have been shipped back to Utah decades ago, and the Africans and Muslims never allowed to be here in the first place.

  • http://www.newnation.org/ sbuffalonative

    Blacks can’t understand the wisdom of the white man so they have to do things their way. The only problem is that they think their way is better and will be better for them.

    They’re wrong.

    Take away all the time tested, polished and perfected white methods and you have anarchy, the natural state of the black man.

    The regression continues and is sure to accelerate.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HUNW553H5SLZGHZQNRIMN7GLVU Bernard

    Next…. back to voodoo and witchdoctors, reminds you of Haiti.

  • Howard_W_Campbell

    Just wait until the Chinese show up on the scene. They will disregard these courts and impose iron discipline on their own; and they will not fear being called racist. But we are dealing with negroes here, and many (unknowingly) follow John Milton’s axiom. “Better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven”

  • Michael_C_Scott

    Hmmm…  “…including forced labor and fines of sheep, cattle and food… and access to land.”

    Boild down, this is one person’s theft of the means of subsistance from another.  Were I a Zulu or a Xhosa, I would be sharpening my ilkwa today.
     

  • mrfinoni

    this truth is beyond painful to read…..but they are correct….white mans laws are not the same….white mans laws are for modern industrial civilised societies….not primitive tribal hunter gatherers…which most of africa will soon be…..