Has the time not come for untrammelled rights of appearance? When the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (which established the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)) was conceived it had, inter alia, as an objective, the speedy resolution of labour matters which under the previous labour regime had dragged on for a long time. The aim was to halt the delays which invariably had as their consequence the suffering of the workers awaiting resolution of their matters by the industrial courts and Labour Appeal Court
The purpose of this article is to clarify some issues regarding Muslim divorces which have been the topic of debate in previous issues of De Rebus (1997 DR 495; 1998 (Jan) DR 55; 1998 (Aug) DR 31). The Divorce Amendment Act 95 of 1996 as it is discussed in this article has relevance only for Muslim parties who intend to terminate a lawful civil marriage but who have also entered into a religious union with each other only. Polygynous unions as such are therefore not discussed here.
In this case note I will concentrate on the leading case of Mthembu v Letsela and Another 1997 (2) SA 936 (T) where the application of the Bill of Rights was considered by the Pretoria high court. Women have unfortunately lost the war for equality in the battle between the sexes. In this case, involving succession to the whole of the estate of a deceased person who died intestate, the respondent (father of the deceased) opposed an application by the widow to succeed to the estate.
It may seem strange to link up the recent judgment in Prior v Battle and Others 1999 (2) SA 850 (Tk)* with a book published in England in 1861 : but that book, Ancient Law, by Sir Henry Sumner Maine, Professor of Law at both Cambridge and Oxford Universities successively, enables one to place the judgment in a historical context reaching back to remote antiquity and to understand its profound significance.
The decision in Magaya v Magaya (ZS) 16-2-1999 Case SC210/98 unreported) has attracted a lot of attention, both locally and internationally. The crux of the criticism levelled at the decision is that it discriminates against women and fails to take proper account of international norms of gender equality. The Supreme Court of Zimbabwe went so far as to issue a letter to various women's organisations in Zimbabwe stating that should they continue to criticise the decision in the manner in which they had been doing, they would be held in contempt of court.