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De Jure

versão On-line ISSN 2225-7160
versão impressa ISSN 1466-3597

De Jure (Pretoria) vol.45 no.3 Pretoria  2012

 

ARTICLES

 

The judicial and legislative reform of the customary law of succession

 

Regterlike en Wetgewende Hervorming van Gewoonteregtelike Erfopvolging

 

 

JC BekkerI; DS KoyanaII

ILLB, LLD (Unisa) Honorary Professor, Department of Private Law, University of Pretoria
IIBA (Rhodes), LLB (Unisa), LLM (Fort Hare) LLD (Unisa); LLD (UP) Professor Emeritus, Walter Sisulu University

 

 


OPSOMMING

Die inheemse erfreg was gebaseer op die grondslag dat die manlike eersgeborene die oorledene se erfgenaam is. Die Konstitusionele Hof het dit ongrondwetlik verklaar omdat dit teen vrouens en kinders van die oorledene diskrimineer. Die hof het dus gelas dat alle intestate boedels moet vererf ingevolge die Wet op Intestate Erfopvolging. Weens die verweefdheid van die inheemse familiereg met die erfopvolgingsreg was die wetgewer verplig om die reels van die intestate erfopvolging te versoen met sekere familieregtelike gebruike. Die uitkoms was die "Reform of Customary Law of Succession and Regulation of Related Matters Act. In hierdie artikel wys die skrywers op sekere ongerymdhede in die Wet en dat sommige bepalings nie prakties uitvoerbaar is nie.


 

 

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1 See, among others, Himonga "The Advancement of African Women's Rights in the First Decade in South Africa: The Reform of the Customary Law of Marriage and Succession" 2005 Acta Juridica 82;         [ Links ] Mbatha "Reforming the Customary Law of Succession" 2002 J of Human Rights 159;         [ Links ] Rautenbach "South African Common Law and Customary Law of Intestate Succession: A Question of Harmonisation, Integration or Abolition" 2008 Electronic J of Comp L 1.         [ Links ]
2 See, among others, Rautenbach & Du Plessis "Reform of the South African Customary Law of Succession: Nails in the Customary Law Coffin" in The Future of African Customary Law (eds Fenrich et al) (2011) 336-360;         [ Links ] also Rautenbach 2008 Electronic J of Comp L 1.
3 Bennett Customary Law in South Africa (2004) 337.
4 Mbiti African Religions and Philosophy (1969) 108-109.
5 Sibanda "The birth of a new order and unitary land administration system in communal areas of South Africa" (unpublished paper) (Feb 2006) par 2.1 states that there are 3,550,402 households who occupy communal land.
6 81 of 1987.
7 See about patrilocal residence Ember & Ember Cultural Anthropology (1988) 188-190.
8 Legal anthropologists point out that "official" customary law consists of the version developed by colonial administrations in written renditions, case law and legislation. On the other hand, "living" customary law is the law that has been adapted to fit the circumstances, such as that in some communities a system of ultimogeniture, as distinct from primogeniture, is applied. See Rautenbach et al Introduction to Legal Pluralism (2011) 28-30.
9 81 of 1987.
10 Ubink In the Land of the Chiefs: Customary Law, Land Conflicts and the Role of the State in Peri-urban Ghana (2008) 221.
11 2005 1 SA 580 (CC).
12 38 of 1927.
13 87 of 1987.
14 38 of 1927.
15 Idem.
16 68 of 1965.
17 Maine Ancient Law: Its Connection with the Early History of Society and its Relation to Modern Ideas (1930) 202.
18 Par 130.
19 Parr 137-241.
20 Par 136.
21 11 of 2009.
22 Our emphasis.
23 Bekker Seymour's Customary Law in Southiern Africa (1989) 11-13.
24 Allott New Essays in African Law (1970) 157.
25 38 of 1927. This inclusion was repeated by s 9(a) Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act 108 of 1991.
26 41 of 2003.
27 41 of 2003.
28 81 of 1987.
29 Ito s 11 Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 41 of 2003.
30 The scope of identifying the persons who hold positions in the ruling hierarchy is illustrated by the fact that according to the Department of Provincial and Local Government Report (undated) 39 there are 1 640 traditional leaders remunerated by the government. In addition there are a number of headmen who are recognised in terms of custom but who are not accorded statutory recognition.
31 41 of 2003.
32 81 of 1987.
33 81 of 1987.
34 Koyana Customary Law in a Changing Society (1980) 83-84.
35 Kewana v Santam Insurance Company Ltd 1993 4 SA 771 (Tka); Metiso v Padongelukkefonds 2001 13 SA 1142 (T).
36 Brownlee cited in Yoywana v Yoywana 1912 3 NAC 301 302.
37 Brownlee 279.
38 s 1 Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 read with s 3 Reform Act. See also Rautenbach & Meyer "Lost in Translation: Is a Spouse a Spouse or a Descendant (or Both) in Terms of the Reform of Customary Law of Succession and Regulation of Related Matters Act?" 2012 TSAR 159. The anomaly is discussed in detail in this article.
39 81 of 1987.
40 Bennet Customary Law in South Africa (2004) 197-198.
41 See Krige & Comaroff African Marriage in Southern Africa (1981) 8.
42 Oomen "Traditional Woman-to-woman Marriages and the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act" 2000 THRHR 274.         [ Links ]
43 120 of 1998.
44 Idem.
45 81 of 1987.
46 38 of 1927.
47 120 of 1998.
48 Idem.
49 2009 3 SA 1521 (CC).
50 Brandel-Syrier First-borns and Younger Sons: Culture Change and Sibling Relations (1980).
51 Ibid 7.
52 Ibid.
53 Higgens, Fenrich & Tanzer "Gender Equality and Customary Marriage: Bargaining in the Shadow of Post-apartheid Legal-Pluralism" 2007 Fordham Int LJ 1651.         [ Links ]
54 120 of 1998.
55 Higgens, Fenrich & Tanzer "Gender Equality and Customary Marriage: Bargaining in the Shadow of Post-apartheid Legal-Pluralism" 2007 Fordham Int LJ 1651 1654.         [ Links ]
56 Ibid 1696.
57 Daily Dispatch (2009-08-23).