The Traditional Courts Bill 1 of 2017 (“TCB”) was introduced to Parliament in January 2017 to regulate certain customary law dispute resolution forums as statutory “traditional courts”. The TCB has a long and controversial history in Parliament, with previous versions widely criticised in public hearings and by civil society. This new TCB is an improved draft by the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, which incorporates some of the important concerns raised. For example, the new version includes a mechanism for opting out of traditional courts. However, some aspects of the TCB remain concerning, unclear or difficult to implement. In this seminar, the speakers will highlight key features of this new TCB version and discuss ongoing debates about the Bill’s “opt-out” provision in the context of Constitutional rights and the broader legislative landscape on land, traditional leadership and criminal justice.



Ayesha joined the Land and Accountability Research Centre in April 2017 as a researcher in the traditional governance team. Prior to joining LARC, she served articles of community service at the Centre for Environmental Rights where she worked in the Centre’s mining programme, which seeks to promote environmental justice in the mining industry through research, litigation and advocacy. She graduated with her LLB degree and Masters in Environmental Law from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Ayesha is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and is committed to the empowerment of rural communities that are affected by land issues.

Thiyane  is a Researcher at LARC. Since joining in February 2015 his focus area of research has been traditional governance, especially in relation to living customary law. Thiyane has also worked as a Junior Researcher at the Human Science Research Council (HSRC) in the HIV/AIDS, STI & TB (HAST) unit. At HRSC Thiyane was involved in research on HIV and alcohol, HIV and men that have sex with men (MSM), HIV and gender-based violence. Thiyane has a BsocSci (Hons) in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town.