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ConCourt declares apartheid era marriages law unconstitutional

15 April 2021 3:50 PM
Tags:
Constitutional Court
Marriage
APARTHEID

The Black Administration Act is said to have been discriminatory towards black women married prior to 1988.

The Legal Resources Centre has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s ruling in declaring a discriminatory apartheid era marriages law unconstitutional and invalid.

The Constitutional Court this week declared sections of the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) unlawful, citing that it unfairly discriminated against black women, that were married before 1988.

The court confirmed an earlier ruling by the Durban high court, deeming sections of the MPA unconstitutional.

This week's ConCourt's ruling states that Section 22 (6) of the Black Administration Act 38 of 1927 was discriminatory.

Sharita Samuels, regional director of the KZN Legal Resources Centre says the original act was repealed in 1988, but did not apply to marriages prior to that.

The applicable section was repealed, but the effect of it was incorporated into the Matrimonial Property Amendment Act of 1988, which said that those marriages of those couples married in terms of the BAA would remain out of community of property unless they took steps to register a contract within a two year window period.

Sharita Samuels - Regional Director of the KZN Legal Resources Centre

During apartheid, a large part of the administration of black people's lives were governed by the Black Administration Act, under which the marriages of black people before the 1988 act was automatically out of community of property.

That meant primarily when husbands died - their wives were not entitled to any of their estate.

In 2021, estimated 400 000 elderly black women who married before 1988 would've found find themselves in that predicament.

Samuels says this a significant victory for elderly black women.

We isolated a class of African women that we identified as very vulnerable, as voiceless, as unrepresented that was being denied access to land an property...and more significantly from their own marriages where they have been married in excess of 30 or 40 years.

Sharita Samuels - Regional Director of the KZN Legal Resources Centre

Listen to the audio of the interview below




15 April 2021 3:50 PM
Tags:
Constitutional Court
Marriage
APARTHEID

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