NGO, the Legal Resources Centre, has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s confirmation of a 2020 ruling – in which the Durban High Court declared a section of the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984 unconstitutional and invalid.
The ruling stated that Section 22 (6) of the Black Administration Act 38 of 1927 was discriminatory – as marriages of Black couples before 1988 were automatically out of community of property.
The original Act was repealed in 1988, but did not apply to marriages prior to that.
LRC Durban Director, Sharita Samuel, elaborates on the significance of Wednesday’s decision.
“What this means is that women who were married in terms of the Black Administration Act prior to 1988 can now assert their claims to equal rights to land and family property. So the potential to own and control property, acquired during the marriage, now lies within their power.
Yesterday’s ruling ordered that such marriages are by default in community of property. Those couples who wish to opt-out of the community of property have been provided for by the Constitutional Court order.”
The apartheid-era Matrimonial Property Act unfairly discriminated against Black women: