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Unformatted text preview: w n FAIR TRIAL AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN To SOUTH AFRICA: HOW TRADITIONAL ap e TRIBUNALS CATER TO THE NEEDS OF RURAL C FEMALE LITIGANTS of by AYDYET001 U ni ve rs i ty YETUNDE ADENIKE AIYEDUN Thesis presented for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of Public Law Faculty of Law UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN SUPERVISED BY: PROF. THOMAS W. BENNETT, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW, UCT September 2013 n C ap e To w The copyright of this thesis vests in the author. No quotation from it or information derived from it is to be published without full acknowledgement of the source. The thesis is to be used for private study or noncommercial research purposes only. U ni ve rs i ty of Published by the University of Cape Town (UCT) in terms of the non-exclusive license granted to UCT by the author. Declaration Declaration I declare that the thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town hereby submitted has not been previously submitted for a degree at this or any other University, that it is my original work, and that all the materials contained herein have been duly acknowledged. Signature Removed w n ……………………………………….. U ni ve rs i ty of C ap e To Yetunde Adenike Aiyedun ii|PAGE Abstract Abstract European and North American jurisprudence imbued the concepts of fair trial and access to justice in Western culture. The United Nations later proclaimed these foreign principles ‘universal human rights’, seemingly oblivious of the marginal role played by African states during conceptualisation. African governments, mindful of their minimal contribution to the content of individual rights, however, introduced communal rights and duties in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This was the situation internationally, and in the region of Africa. On the domestic scene, South Africa ratified both international and African n human rights conventions; hence, its Constitution incorporated the rights of access to w justice, fair trial, equality and culture. These rights, however, create conflict during To dispute resolution. This is evident with the country’s multiple legal systems, allowing urban and rural litigants to engage in forum shopping, by approaching ap e formal courts or traditional tribunals in civil and criminal contexts. C In the formal courts, rural litigants (especially women, as lower income earners) encounter exorbitantly high costs of litigation, long travel distances to court, alien of laws and procedures and, all too often, a foreign language in court, making these ty forums inaccessible. Conversely, traditional trubunals guarantee easier access to rs i justice because they provide affordable and comprehensible procedures, and are ve usually located in close proximity to parties. ni African tribunals, however, hinder equal standards between men and women U during conflict resolution, by violating the right to gender equality — a right implicit in fair trial. Usually, traditional judicial officers accept women as complainants, witnesses or accused persons, but rarely encourage or recognise the female demographic as participants in a judicial capacity (in some cases they do not even permit them to attend judicial proceedings). In spite of these shortcomings, traditional methods advance flexible, communal and harmonious procedures, in accordance with the African culture. While these characteristics of traditional tribunals gurantee the protection of cultural equality, human rights activists are fixated with the argument that these African structures discriminate against women, and often ignore their benefits. More importantly, the proponents of human rights fail to investigate the inequalities that iii|PAGE Abstract plague the formal justice system. Well aware of the limited research in both regards, this thesis conducts a broad critique of the South African justice system, comparing the formal with the traditional. Based on its findings, the study argues in favour of traditional tribunals, which guarantee cultural rights as well as access to justice for poorer litigants. Further, the research discusses conflicts evident between the rights to culture and gender equality in the traditional context, which frequently jeorpardise the enforcement of a fair trial for female litigants. With the aim of enforcing women’s rights, the thesis advocates for balancing the right to a fair trial with that of access in w require the strict application of fair trial guarantees. n civil disputes, since traditional tribunals judge mainly civil issues, which hardly ever To The thesis concludes that traditional systems are crucial to the implementation of the right of access to justice for rural women, and therefore recommends better state ap e engagement with them. The study also recommends the expansion of state budget for traditional justice mechanisms, to help strengthen them, and even expand their reach U ni ve rs i ty of C from rural to urban areas. iv|PAGE Dedication Dedication I would like to dedicate this thesis to Almighty God for seeing me through the most laborious but, ultimately, rewarding experience of my life. I would also like to dedicate this work to my mother, who stood by me through it all. I love you, Mum, U ni ve rs i ty of C ap e To w n more than words could possibly express. v|PAGE Acknowledgment Acknowledgement I am greatly indebted to my supervisor, Professor T W Bennett for his immense support during the writing of this thesis. I appreciate his commitment and patience towards me over the last few years, and he was the best supervisor anyone could have asked for. His dedication made it possible for me to believe in myself, and his comments made me work harder than I could have ever imagined. This work is a reflection of how much he pushed me whenever I became tardy, and his foresight whenever I hit a milestone. Thank you so much for encouraging me to keep believing in myself. n I am overwhelmed by the financial support I have received over the years from w the A W Mellon Scholarship and the International Student’s Scholarship at the To University of Cape Town, without which, I could not have lived in Cape Town in order to undertake and complete this thesis. I am indeed very grateful to the A W ap e Mellon Foundation and its Board, as well as to the University of Cape Town for C affording me this great opportunity. I am grateful to the former Director of SAIFAC, Professor Theunis Roux, and to of the entire staff of the organisation for allowing me to conduct some of my research at ty the Constitutional Court. It was a very important and worthwhile endeavour in my rs i journey towards the completion of this thesis. ve I have so many individuals to thank for supporting me over the past few years. ni My siblings, who have held me together whenever I felt as though I was at my U breaking point. Most especially my elder sister, Mrs Oluwatoyin Edun, for her generosity in times of financial crisis. I love you all so much and could not have done this without any of you. I would also like to express my thanks to the friends and colleagues I made in Cape Town during the writing of this thesis and to my friends around the world. Most especially, the Okorafors, who opened up their home to me during the final stages of my thesis-writing. I am forever grateful for their generosity, prayers and emotional support. I also have to mention the friends I imposed upon to read my chapters over and over again! A big thank-you to Professor Ademola Abass, Dr Ada Okoye-Ordor, Dr Tendai Nhenga-Chakarisa, Precillar Moyo, Fola Adeleke, Mojisola Agunbiade, Edefe Ojomo, Alexa Heming and Dr Tobias Schonwetter. I would also vi|PAGE Acknowledgment like to thank my colleagues for their immense support throughout this journey – Dr Ashimizo Afadameh, Dr Deo Nangela, Dr Nyoko Muvangua, Dr Pamhidzai Bamu, Sophie Nakueira, Benson Olugbo, Emmanuella Kadiri, Toyin Badejogbin, Ken U ni ve rs i ty of C ap e To w n Mutuma and Christian Zenim. God bless you all. vii|PAGE List of Abbreviations List of Abbreviations ACHR American Convention on Human Rights AFRICAN CHARTER African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights AFRICAN COMMISSION African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights African Peer Review Mechanism AU African Union BAA Black Administration Act CALS Centre for Applied Legal Studies e To w n APRM Commission for Conciliation, C ap CCMA ty of CEDAW ni Africa Cooperative Governance and U CoGTA Discrimination against Women Conference for a Democratic South ve CODESA Convention on the Elimination of Commission on Gender Equality rs i CGE Mediation and Arbitration Traditional Affairs CONTRALESA Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa COSATU Congress of South African Trade Unions CRC Convention of the Rights of the Child CSW Commission on the Status of Women DTA Department of Traditional Affairs viii|PAGE List of Abbreviations ECHR European Convention on Human Rights ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICESCR International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Inkatha Freedom Party LASA Legal Aid South Africa LRC Legal Resource Centre MPNP Multi-Party Negotiation Process NEPAD New Partnership for Africa’s To w n IFP e Development National Land Committee ap NLC C OAU of PAP ty RWM Rural Women’s Movement ve Community ni South African Human Rights Commission U SAHRC Pan-African Parliament Southern African Development rs i SADC Organisation of African Unity SALC South African Law Commission THE ACT Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 2003 THE BILL Traditional Courts Bill 2008/12 THE UNIT The Parliamentary Research Unit UDHR Universal Declaration of Human Rights UNDP United Nations Development Programme ix|PAGE List of Abbreviations UN United Nations UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation United States of America WNC Women’s National Coalition U ni ve rs i ty of C ap e To w n US x|PAGE Fair Trial and Access to Justice in South Africa: how traditional tribunals cater to the needs of rural female litigants Chapter I: Problem of Access to Justice and Fair Trial for Rural Female Litigants in South Africa Table of Contents Declaration............................................................................................................. ii Abstract .................................................................................................................iii Acknowledgement ............................................................................................... vi List of Abbreviations ........................................................................................viii CHAPTER I .......................................................................................................... 1 rs i ty of C ap e To w n PROBLEM OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND FAIR TRIAL FOR RURAL FEMALE LITIGANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA ........................................... 1 1. Description of the problem ................................................................................. 1 a) Barriers to formal justice.............................................................................................. 2 b) The solution: traditional tribunals?........................................................................... 4 c) The further problem: fair trial..................................................................................... 7 2. Key concepts .......................................................................................................... 8 a) Access to justice .............................................................................................................. 8 b) Fair trial........................................................................................................................... 10 3. The origins of fair trial and access to justice in international law.......... 11 4. Differences between Western rights and traditional styles of justice in the South African Constitution............................................................................................. 13 5. Statement of the problem and methodology................................................ 15 6. Importance of research .................................................................................... 17 ve CHAPTER II.......................................................................................................18 U ni DEVELOPMENT OF THE RIGHTS TO FAIR TRIAL AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE....................................................................................................................18 1. The development of fair trial and access to justice in Western jurisprudence............................................................................................................................ 18 a) Fair trial........................................................................................................................... 18 b) Access to justice........................................................................................................... 20 2. Encoding the rights in conventional law ...................................................... 24 a) The drafting process.................................................................................................... 24 b) The conceptual framework ....................................................................................... 28 3. African variations on the theme ..................................................................... 33 4. The forgotten rights of women ....................................................................... 37 5. Incorporation of the rights in the South African Constitution................ 41 6. Overview of the International and African human rights framework .. 43 CHAPTER III .....................................................................................................45 FAIR TRIAL FOR RURAL WOMEN..........................................................45 1. Application of fair trial guarantees ............................................................... 45 xi|PAGE Fair Trial and Access to Justice in South Africa: how traditional tribunals cater to the needs of rural female litigants Chapter I: Problem of Access to Justice and Fair Trial for Rural Female Litigants in South Africa a) General fair trial guarantees ..................................................................................... 45 i) Independence and impartiality of the tribunal or forum ............................................ 45 ii) Fair and public hearing........................................................................................................ 52 b) The special requirements for criminal proceedings ......................................... 53 i) ii) iii) iv) Public hearing in an ordinary court................................................................................... 55 Legal representation ............................................................................................................. 58 Evidentiary protections ...................................................................................................... 63 Appeals .................................................................................................................................... 65 To w n 2. Equality: an implication of fair trial ............................................................. 67 a) Equality and equal protection of the law.............................................................. 68 b) Equal enjoyment of rights and the prohibition of discrimination................ 69 c) Unfair discrimination.................................................................................................. 70 3. Problem of fair trial in traditional tribunals ............................................... 71 CHAPTER IV .....................................................................................................74 U ni ve rs i ty of C ap e ACCESS TO FORMAL JUSTICE FOR RURAL FEMALE LITIGANTS .....................................................................................................................74 1. The conditions necessary for full access ....................................................... 74 2. Access to courts .................................................................................................. 77 3. Access to legal representation in criminal cases ......................................... 82 4. Methods for alleviating access problems ...................................................... 85 a) Assisted representation .............................................................................................. 87 i) Pro amico and pro deo representation............................................................................. 87 ii) In forma pauperis proceedings ......................................................................................... 88 iii) State Legal Aid ..................................................................................................................... 89 Legal Aid South Africa ......................................................................................................... 90 University law clinics............................................................................................................. 96 Privately funded public interest organisations............................................................... 97 Community advice centres ................................................................................................... 99 b) Small claims courts ..................................................................................................... 99 5. Tip of the iceberg: the problem of ‘unmet legal need’ ............................102 Chapter V.......................................................................................................... 105 TRADITIONAL JUSTICE ........................................................................... 105 1. Description of traditional justice..................................................................105 a) The Tswana..................................................................................................................107 b) The Ndebele ................................................................................................................113 c) Xhosa-speaking peoples of the Eastern Cape...................................................115 d) Communities in Limpopo .......................................................................................118 e) Gender discrimination during dispute resolution ............................................122 2. Comparison of Western and African modes of procedure.....................128 a) Flexible procedures ...................................................................................................129 b) Communal values ......................................................................................................132 c) Social harmony ...........................................................................................................137 xii|PAGE Fair Trial and Access to Justice in South Africa: how traditional tribunals cater to the needs of rural female litigants Chapter I: Problem of Access to Justice and Fair Trial for Rural Female Litigants in South Africa CHAPTER VI .................................................................................................. 143 TRADITIONAL JUSTICE IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN LEGAL SYSTEM ........................................................................................................................ 143 1. Historical overview of state recognition of traditional forms of justice…………. .....................................................................................................................143 2. New Constitution .............
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