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Deepening Rural Democracy
Concerns on the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill and the Traditional Courts Bill

These bills and the serious concerns around them were the subject of an informative, productive workshop held by the Nelson Mandela Foundation recently, together with the Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC) and the Alliance for Rural Democracy (ARD).

Audience at the event

Audience in the big auditorium


Serious concerns around bills

The bills are currently in the parliamentary process and meant to be adopted in the near future. Workshop participants from many areas of South Africa, among them experts from different disciplines, representatives of rural communities, civil society organisations and political decision makers, were rather unanimous in their call to stop the bills in their current form.

Nolundo Luwaya from LARC during her highly informative presentation

Nolundo Luwaya from LARC gave a highly informative presentation


A highly enlightening presentation

The workshop had started with a very enlightening presentation by Nolundi Luwaya from LARC, on the historical background, the current legal situation and the content of the bills. It was followed by engaging inputs from diverse speakers which described the real life implications the bills would have, especially on marginalised people and communities, and on the country at large. 

Director Khalil Goga and renowned veterans Mavuso Msimang and Tim Wilson

Director Khalil Goga with renowned veterans Mavuso Msimang and Tim Wilson


Bills seen as unconstitutional

Speaker after speaker described the potential further harm the bills would inflict on millions of affected people, particularly in rural areas. The bills are clearly seen as contradicting democratic principles enshrined in the Constitution, in a number of ways. Participants, amongst them renowned experts like Annika Claasens from LARC, community activists like Nontle Mbuthuma from the Xolobeni Crisis Committee, veteran stalwarts like Mavuso Msimang and Tim Wilson as well as parliamentarians vowed to oppose the adoption of the bills and to work with relevant stakeholders to prevent them from becoming law. 

Brochure to enlighten and mobilise the public

Brochure to enlighten and mobilise the public


Extensive media coverage of the dialogue

The event found a very active echo on social media, #StopTheBills, and recordings were made available, for instance on the Facebook page of "Stop the Bantustan Bills":

The workshop was also attended by a number of media representatives who used the opportunity to ask a variety of questions, and covered by the SABC as well. Read this article by an SABC journalist:…/lobby-groups-call-on-ramaphosa-n…/

Some of the insightful TV Footage is available online: