Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Key Judgment Favours Women Married under Sexist Apartheid Law

From Daily Maverick/ MSN

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC), obtained judgment in the Durban High Court on 24 January 2020, on behalf of Ms Agnes Sithole and the Commission for Gender Equality, in a challenge to the application of sections 21(1) and 21(2) (a) of the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984, which perpetuated the effect of the now-repealed section 22(6) provision of the Black Administration Act 38 of 1927.

Sithole, the first applicant, acted in her own and in the public interest on behalf of all affected South African women, whose right to property and financial security in marriage was in issue in this case. There are approximately 400,000 women affected by the provisions of section 22 (6) of the Black Administration Act 38 of 1927.

Sithole is 72 years old and entered into a civil marriage with her husband nearly 50 years ago. At the time, all African couples were married under section 22(6) of the Black Administration Act as were Mr and Ms Sithole. During the course of their marriage, Ms Sithole worked hard to support and elevate her family, and her four children are fiercely loving and protective of their mother. 

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