The Durban High Court has handed down judgment in favour of women who were stripped of their financial and property rights after being married under an archaic apartheid law.
Written by Sharita Samuel, Kathleen Wootton and Simone Gray, Daily Maverick
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of sections 21(1) and 21(2) (a) of the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984, which perpetuated the effect of the now-repealed section 22(6) provision of the Black Administration Act 38 of 1927.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.