The pleas of thousands of rural people who made difficult journeys to attend public hearings across the country are largely ignored in the amended version of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill set to be adopted by the National Assembly this week. Appeals for consultation, the right to decide the use of their own land, accountability for revenues earned off their land and a say over the boundaries that define their identities — and many other rights — receive, at best, cosmetic attention in the draft bill adopted by Parliament’s co-operative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee. The bill — at least six years in the making — is the first major review of the rules that have, since the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act was enacted in 2003, restricted 17-million people in former bantustans to second-class citizenship. Most of those who were aware of the process had hoped the new bill would remedy the myriad problems introduced by the act. But...

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