Hansard: Draft Statement : Minister Gugile Nkwinti to National Assembly on 2nd Reading of Black Authorities Act Repeal Bill (National Assembly)
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 01 Sep 2010
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DRAFT STATEMENT FOR MINISTER GUGILE NKWINTI TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON THE SECOND READING OF THE BLACK AUTHORITIES ACT REPEAL BILL (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY)
In democratic South Africa, we cannot but recognise the Black Authorities Act No. 68 of 1951 as a defining piece of legislative act in the relationship between the State ,and the citizens. Internal colonialism, such as apartheid, left the democratic Government with many legacies and seemingly intractable governance issues to contend with. These include a chaotic and contradicting power structure transmitted in racial hierarchies and tribally arranged local communities thus giving birth to deformed racial and tribal identities in South Africans. While directly the Apartheid State denied basic rights to the black majority on racial grounds, in an authoritarian mode it introduced a well tested colonialist project of indirect rule by instituting a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities amongst Africans thus re-defining customs. This State incursion into traditions and cultures of various Africans in South Africa distorted and damaged the established practices of those affected.
The institutional legacy of the Black Authorities Act is a colossal social experiment that another single legislative act cannot wipe off. It is an on-going project that the democratic State remains committed to. The institutional features of the Black Authorities Act bear themselves out in the configuration of a number of arrangements within the post-apartheid South Africa. Dislodging and dislocating the apartheid edifice of traditional institutions, with all the accompanying distortions and disfigurement, is a task that we have commenced with. We will continue with the systematic removal of all the legislative pillars of the distorted system.
Even with the fragmentation and resistance evident in the public response to how this task is prosecuted or the pace of State interventions in restoring the legitimacy of the social organisation of our communities, we take comfort in the unanimity of views that this repeal Bill is a step in the right direction. In calling upon the Parliament of our people to adopt this repeal Bill we recommit to reforming the distortion created by the Black Authorities Act and similar measures as they institutionally enforce tension between institutions and people.
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