Government needs to do more to recognise Muslim marriages - NPO

The Women's Legal Centre has welcomed a ruling by the Constitutional Court affirming the rights of wives in polygamous Muslim marriages to benefit from their deceased husband’s will.

The case involved two women who were married to the late Osman Harneker under Islamic law - Amina Harneker and Farieda Harneker.

The matter challenged a provision in the Wills Act, which stopped Farieda from getting a share of her husband's estate because her marriage to him was not formally legalised.

Director at The Women's Legal Centre, Seeham Samaai explains.

This particular provision of the Wills Act says, once the children have repudiated, because she is not seen as the spouse in that particular marriage, it cannot be given to her because they have given their share back to the estate. By that the Deeds Offfice was saying unless this particular section is amended, they cannot register it in her name.

Seeham Samaai, Director at The Women's Legal Centre

What the court has indicated, is that the Section is unconstitutional to the extent that it does not recognise spouses married in terms of Muslim marriages.

Seeham Samaai, Director at The Women's Legal Centre

Samaai says more needs to be done to change legislation and recognise Muslim marriages.

We welcome the decision because the Constitutional Court once again pronounced and said that due to the lack of legislative framework, these women are in exceptionally vulnerable positions.

Seeham Samaai, Director at The Women's Legal Centre

It can't be the default position where women have to go to court to be able to assert their rights.

Seeham Samaai, Director at The Women's Legal Centre

Click on the link below to hear more from Samaai....


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