Customary law

Court gives community right to fish without permit

Can a local community governed by a system of customary law fish in a marine protected area without a permit? In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has said it can. The decision is a victory for people living in the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve in the Eastern Cape who rely on fishing.

Landmark judgment for customary rights

By Ohene Yaw Ampofo-Anti

6 June 2018

Photo of Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein

The Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled that traditional fishers do not need a permit to fish in the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve. Photo: Ben Bezuidenhout via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

 

Court orders tribal authority to act democratically

Do traditional leaders have to consult with their community before litigating on their behalf? On 9 March 2018, a Mahikeng High Court judgment answered this question: yes, they do.

By Ohene Yaw Ampofo-Anti

28 May 2018

Background

The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) is a tribal community of approximately 300,000 people. RBN applied to court for an order declaring that it is the owner of 60 properties in North-West Province.

RBN asked for this order because, according to the title deeds, the properties are being held by the Minister of Land Affairs “in trust for” the RBN. RBN contended however, that there was no trust relationship between it and the Minister and it was the outright owner of the properties.

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