ConCourt rules in favour of first wives

2013-05-30 17:24
The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - A first wife is required to give consent to subsequent customary marriages under Tsonga customary law, the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday.

It found that Modjadji Florah Mayelane acquired this right when she married her husband in 1984 - although she did not register their union.

She later discovered her husband had taken a second wife, Mphephu Maria Ngwenyama, without her knowledge.

Mayelane approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, asking it to find her union to her late husband valid, which it did.

Ngwenyama appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which ruled that Mayelane's customary marriage was valid, but also that of her own.

Mayelane then took the matter to the Constitutional Court, which found she had substantial evidence proving she had not consented to the second marriage.

The court ruled that consent for a second marriage was based of human dignity and equality under the Constitution.

Ngwenyama's marriage was invalid, the Constitutional Court concluded.

Read more on:    culture  |  gender equality

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