Promoting Human Rights & Rule of Law in South Africa
16 May, 2013
Johannesburg, 16 May – Lesotho’s Constitutional Court today struck a serious blow against women’s rights and gender equality by upholding a discriminatory section of the Chieftainship Act, which denies all daughters the right to succeed to chieftainship solely due to their gender.
“This is a dark day for women in Lesotho. The Constitutional Court has basically re-affirmed the view that women are second-class citizens in Lesotho,” said Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which intervened as a friend of the court (amicus curiae) in the matter. “In recent years, Lesotho had made significant strides towards eradicating gender discrimination, by ending male marital power among other things. Today’s decision is a significant step backwards for Lesotho in achieving gender equality.”
The case, Masupha v The Senior Resident Magistrate for the Subordinate Court of Berea and Others, was brought by Senate Masupha, the first-born child of a chief. Upon her father’s death, her mother was appointed as caretaker of the chieftainship. Following her mother’s death, the chieftainship was contested between Masupha’s uncle and half-brother. Masupha intervened seeking to succeed to the chieftainship as she was the first-born child. However, she was denied the right to succeed solely on the basis of her gender.
The decision goes against the trend on the continent of courts upholding the rights of women. The Constitutional Court in South Africa has struck down laws which deny women the right to inherit or succeed to chieftainship. In Botswana, the High Court recently struck down a customary law which denied women the right to inherit. Courts in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania have also all struck down laws which deny women the right to inherit due solely to their gender.
The parties can appeal the judgment to the Court of Appeal.
For more information: Priti Patel, Deputy Director, SALC
+27 (0)11 587 5065 (o)
+27 (0)76 808 0505 (m)
For the judgment click here.
For background on the case click here.
Receive latest news from SALC
Latest Blog Posts
- ZAMBIA’S PRISONER TRANSFER AGREEMENT
- SALC’s Submission to the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women Regarding the Government of Namibia
- CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
- Bizarre Bail Applications: An (out of) Court Diary from Swaziland
- Court Diary: Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu Appeals
- SALC IN THE NEWS: DISCUSSION ON DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN TRADITIONAL LEADERSHIP IN THE AFRICAN AGENDA
- Regional rights body reports Malawi to the UN
- NEWS RELEASE: SALC SUBMITS A SHADOW REPORT ON MALAWI TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
- MEDIA ADVISORY: ZIMBABWEAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO DECIDE ON THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF HIV STATUS
- NEWS RELEASE: BOTSWANA HIGH COURT UPHOLDS CHILDREN’S BEST INTERESTS IN ADOPTION
- MALAWI: SALC’S SUBMISSION TO THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN REGARDING THE GOVERNMENT’S 7TH PERIODIC REPORT
- ZAMBIA’S PRISONER TRANSFER AGREEMENT
- INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE REGIONAL ADVOCACY REPORT-CIVIL SOCIETY IN ACTION: PURSUING DOMESTIC ACCOUNTABILITY FOR INTERNATIONAL CRIMES
- SALC BIENNIAL REPORT 2012-2014
- SALC HANDBOOK – Justice for all: Realising the Promise of the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- CONFIDENTIALITY UNDER THE REFUGEES ACT- A SHIELD FOR SUSPECTED PERPETRATORS OF GRAVE CRIMES
- UNDERSTANDING THE ZIMBABWE TORTURE CASE
- SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT IN ZIMBABWE TORTURE CASE: A VICTORY FOR LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- SALC LETTER TO SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT- SUPPORTING THE FIGHT AGAINST IMPUNITY AND ENCOURAGING INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
- SALC IN THE NEWS: SOUTH AFRICA CAUSES BLUSHES IN HANDLING OF POLICY ON SYRIA