Traditional courts can be used to settle disputes: John Jeffrey

Justice Deputy Minister John Jeffrey
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Justice Deputy Minister John Jeffrey believes traditional courts can be used as dispute resolution forums in the former homelands.

He was a keynote speaker at the commemoration of International Human’s Rights Day at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College in Durban.

Jeffrey says traditional courts and platforms such as village councils and clan meetings can enhance the work of existing formal courts.

“The issue of traditional courts is very controversial topic in the country, but the reality is that the traditional courts in many places – Yes – they are in traditional authority areas, which were restricted to the homelands of apartheid. But they do provide access for people to having disputes resolved.

“I was interested in Mozambique. I think we can learn about that where they seem to have community courts with elected Judges. I think they call them – they are from within the communities and adjudicate on disputes. I think there is a lot of creativity thinking.”

Meanwhile, a High Court Judge Nompumelelo Radebe has lashed out at increase in racism cases in courts. Radebe says it has become fashionable for some to violate other people’s rights to dignity.

“All of us as human beings are entitled to dignity. Our society has become so uncaring about human dignity. If all of us were to recognise this right to dignity, it may heal most of the social ills, it can even minimise the prevalence of crime if each of were to accept this basic human right. But it goes even beyond that, it goes even to common law arena; if your rights are violated in such a way that your dignity is impaired, like these racism cases that are becoming fashionable now.”

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