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September 03, 2004

Court ruling a victory for abused women

In what is seen as a victory for abused women, KwaZulu-Natal’s Judge President has deemed the Domestic Violence Act to be constitutional, dismissing a Durban man’s claim that it infringed on his right to freedom. A report in The Mercury says businessman Ahmed Raffick Omar took on the government, the Minister of Justice and his now ex-wife Halima Joosab in a case before Judge Vuka Tshabalala in the Pietermaritzburg High Court earlier this year. His attack on the Act – described by the judge as ‘one of the most important statutes dealing with the scourge of domestic violence’ – came after his wife obtained a domestic violence order against him. He challenged the mandatory issue of a warrant of arrest at the time of the granting of protection orders. In his judgment, Tshabalala commented that the application had arisen out of an abusive relationship. He said the effect of the disputed provisions of the Act had to be assessed in the light of the state’s constitutional duty to protect vulnerable members of society and to deal effectively with the scourge of domestic violence.

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