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African Customary Law

  • African Customary Law

      • Since 1994 customary law has been accepted as a separate legal system which may be freely chosen by persons who wish to do so.

        South African customary law consists of various customs and usages traditionally observed among the indigenous African people of South
        Africa and forms part of the culture of those people.

        African government and administration differ vastly from the Western systems. The apex of a traditional African community is a hereditary king
        or traditional leader. Although the king or traditional leader would normally give effect to the will of the people, they do not operate as
        democratically elected functionaries such as Western cabinets, legislative assemblies and trained and remunerated judges.

        Sources of customary law:

        Customs and usages – this is the main source of customary law.
        Legislation – this is a means to find the official version of customary law, an example being Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998.

        Judicial precedent – the courts have a responsibility to develop the customary law when interpreting any legislation, and when developing
        the customary law in line with the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights.

        Scholarly and other writings – this carries less weight than legislation and judicial precedence but is still used as a source of customary law.
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        Hi, I’m Kailash Pillay, an attorney from the city of Johannesburg. My passion for the law
        stems from a desire to improve upon the lives of the vulnerable who fall prey to a
        corrupt system.
        I studied at the University of Johannesburg where I obtained my Bachelor of Laws
        degree, the starting point to the long journey of becoming a legal practitioner.
        This profession has taught me to persevere through the complexities of the law and to
        continually develop my skills as a legal professional.