n South African Law Journal - Establishing the existence of a same-sex life partnership for the purposes of intestate succession : notes

Volume 125, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



In all of the cases in which same-sex domestic partnerships have been recognized, the most useful judgment is that of Ackermann J in (supra) (hereafter ). It concerned the unconstitutionality of s 25(5) of the Aliens Control Act 96 of 1991 which, in summary, provided for the issue of an immigration permit to the spouse of a South African permanent resident but failed to make corresponding provision for the partner of a South African permanent resident with whom the latter was in a permanent same-sex life partnership. Ackermann J, delivering the unanimous judgment of the court, declared this omission to be unconstitutional discrimination against the South African permanent residents affected by it, and made an order for an appropriate reading-in. What is of interest for our purposes is the discussion by Ackermann J of the meaning of 'permanent' in this context, and his comments for the guidance of immigration officials who would henceforth have to decide whether a same-sex partnership was permanent.

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