n Acta Juridica - Mayelane v Ngwenyama and Minister for Home Affairs : a reflection on wider implications

Volume 2013, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1346
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2088



The recent Constitutional Court decision in raises several interesting issues concerning customary marriage and related aspects. In particular, the commentary reflects on the scope and effect of the decision, methods of ascertainment of customary law and the measures needed to balance and protect the competing rights of a first wife and subsequent polygynous wives in a customary marriage. Further issues include consideration of use of the powers of the Court and of the realities of the implementation of judicial decisions and other efforts directed at legal change. The authors conclude that the decision makes a valuable contribution to this line of jurisprudence insofar as ascertainment of living customary law is concerned but also that it misses important opportunities to clarify and guide issues relating to women who marry under customary law.

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