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October 18, 2004

ConCourt rules customary inheritance laws unconstitutional

In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court has confirmed that the SA customary law rules relating to intestate succession are unconstitutional and discriminatory. The court also confirmed that the entire statutory scheme governing deceased estates of black persons is unconstitutional and discriminates on the basis of race, birth and gender. Michelle O’Sullivan, director of the Women’s Legal Centre, who acted for applicants, Nontupheko Bhe and her two children, Nonkululeko and Anelisa, says: ‘The Constitutional Court ruling strikes down the racist apartheid statutory scheme for deceased estates of black person, as well as the African customary law rule of primogeniture, to the extent that it excludes or hinders women or extra-marital children from inheriting property. A News24 report says the ruling follows a ruling by the High Court in the Cape and Transvaal Provincial Divisions that the pre-1994 Black Administration Act, laws on the administration of black deceased estates, and a provision of the Intestate Succession Act are unconstitutional.
Full report on News24 site

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