Completed Cases

Botswana: Women's Inheritance Rights Under Customary Law

SALC supported a case in Botswana before the High Court challenging a customary law rule which provides only for male inheritance of the family home.The case was an appeal from a decision of the Customary Court of Appeal finding that under customary law, women could not inherit the family home due to their gender. In a landmark ruling, the Court .. » Read More

Zambia: Activist defends right to freedom of expression

Paul Kasonkomona is a respected HIV activist and National Coordinator of Engender Rights-Zambia. On 7 April 2013, Kasonkomona was arrested outside MuviTV station after he appeared on a television programme. As a guest on the programme Kasonkomona argued that the rights of sexual minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT) and sex workers, should be recognised in order to .. » Read More

Botswana: Securing access to HIV treatment for prisoners

SALC worked with the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and AIDS (BONELA) to challenge the Botswana government's policy of refusing HIV treatment to non-citizen prisoners. Citizen prisoners were entitled to free HIV treatment. In addition, the government provided non-citizen prisoners with treatment for opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis. However, non-citizen prisoners were expected to finance HIV treatment themselves. BONELA and .. » Read More

Zimbabwe: Strengthening Women’s Access to Reproductive Health Services

SALC provided support to the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) in the case of Mildred Mapingure v The State. Mapingure was raped in 2006. She sought emergency contraception within 72 hours of her rape to ensure that the rape did not result in a pregnancy. Despite emergency contraceptives being legal in Zimbabwe, Mapingure failed to access emergency contraception on time due to delays .. » Read More

Swaziland: Human Rights Lawyer and Editor Charged with Contempt of Court

In March 2014, human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, and magazine editor, Bheki Makhubu, were arrested and charged with contempt of court. The Nation and its publisher were also charged. Maseko and Makhubu had both written articles in Makhubu's magazine, The Nation, in which they criticised the Swazi judiciary and the Chief Justice. Despite various applications for their release and the .. » Read More

Zimbabwe: Challenging the Constitutionality of the Criminal Defamation Offence

In 2014, the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe ruled that the offence of Criminal Defamation was unconstitutional under the former constitution. However, the Court stated that "[i]t might also be argued that the offence of criminal defamation is a justifiable limitation on the freedom of expression as envisaged by s 86 of the new Constitution," and that "these are matters for .. » Read More

Lesotho: Protecting detainees against abuse

SALC worked with the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Lesotho (CCJP) and the wives of 23 soldiers of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) to support the applicants in the matter of Mareka and 22 Others v the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force and Others. The 23 applicant soldiers brought a challenge to their detention under "closed .. » Read More

Lesotho: Supporting Access to Justice

SALC supported the wife of the late former commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, to oppose court proceedings brought to set aside an investigation into her husband's killing in the matter of Hashatsi v the Prime Minister of Lesotho and Others. Brig Mahao was killed in June 2015 by members of the LDF. His killing occurred in the .. » Read More


SALC supported a case on the involuntary sterilisation of a woman in Swaziland. The case filed in November 2015 sought an order declaring that the Applicant was sterilised without her informed consent violating her rights to: human dignity, protection from cruel inhumane and degrading treatment and right to found a family as protected by sections 18(1), 18(2), and 27(1) of .. » Read More

Lesotho: Palliative Care for Military Prisoners

SALC supported a case brought by private lawyer, Advocate Mole Kumalo, to compel the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) to permit a soldier being held in detention to access medical care, and thereafter, to be released on "open arrest" (a form of military bail) on the basis of his palliative needs. The applicant is the wife of a soldier who was detained .. » Read More

Zambia: Mandatory HIV Testing of Military Employees

In May 2010, the High Court in Livingstone found that both petitioners, Stanley Kingaipe and Charles Chookole, were subjected to HIV testing without their informed consent in violation of their rights to privacy and to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment, and that they were entitled to damages. Kingaipe and Chookole, former employees of the Zambian Air Force (ZAF), alleged .. » Read More

South Africa/Zimbabwe: Challenging the NPA’s Refusal to Act in Terms of the ICC Act

In 2008, SALC submitted a dossier to the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) containing comprehensive evidence of the involvement of eighteen Zimbabwean security officials in perpetrating torture, and requested the NPA and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to initiate an investigation. The NPA has an obligation to investigate cases of alleged international crimes under the Implementation of the Rome .. » Read More

Zambia: Two men accused of "carnal knowledge against the order of nature"

SALC supported the defence of two Zambian men who were charged under section 155 of the Zambian Penal Code. In terms of section 155 of the Penal Code, any person who (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature; commits a .. » Read More

South Africa: The Constitutionality of the Confidentiality Provisions in the South African Refugees Act

SALC was admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the Constitutional Court matter, Mail and Guardian Media Limited and others v Chipu NO and others. On 27 September 2013, the Court ruled that section 21(5) was unconstitutional as it was an unjustifiable limitation of the right to freedom of expression. In a unanimous judgment Judge Zondo suspended the .. » Read More

Malawi: Protecting Rights of Same-Sex Couple

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga were arrested on 28 December 2009 and charged with violating sections 153 and 156 of Malawi’s Penal Code prohibiting carnal knowledge against the order of nature and gross indecency between males.  They had held a traditional engagement ceremony two days prior to their arrest, a fact which was widely reported in the local press. The Magistrate .. » Read More

Malawi: Mandatory HIV testing of women

On 10 March 2011, eleven women from Mwanza, Malawi, filed an application in the Blantyre High Court challenging their subjection to mandatory HIV tests, the admission of the HIV test results as evidence in criminal cases against them, and the public disclosure of their HIV status in open court. The women argue that these actions by government officials violated their .. » Read More

Malawi: Protecting women's right to property

SALC is working with the Women and Law in Southern Africa's Malawi (WLSA-Malawi) chapter to challenge a common law principle which requires a showing of monetary contribution to property when determining distribution at the time of divorce. The effect of this principle is that women are often denied property to which they provided non-monetary contributions. The case was brought by .. » Read More

Namibia: Coerced Sterilisation of HIV-Positive Women

SALC is working with the Namibia Women's Health Network and the Legal Assistance Centre to challenge the coerced sterilisation of three HIV-positive women at public hospitals in Namibia. In July 2012, the High Court held that all three women were subjected to coerced sterilisation in violation of their fundamental rights and were thus due compensation. The Court found that there .. » Read More

African Court: Request for Advisory Opinion on Suspension of SADC Tribunal

On 23 November 2012, SALC and the Pan African Lawyers Union filed a request for an advisory opinion at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The request asks the Court to use its advisory powers to determine whether the suspension of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal by the region’s leaders was legal or not. On 10 January .. » Read More

Botswana: Challenging refusal to register LGBT organisation

In March 2013, twenty individuals filed a case before the High Court of Botswana, asking the court to review the decision by the Director of Civil and National Registration and the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to refuse to register the organisation, Lesbians, Gays and Bi-sexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO). The case was supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. Once registered, .. » Read More

Botswana: Ending discrimination in adoption

SALC supported a challenge to the Adoption of Children Act in Botswana, which permitted the adoption of a child born out of wedlock without the consent of the child's father, regardless of the child's best interests. SALC worked with the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) and Uyapo Ndadi, a private lawyer. The applicant sought to prevent his biological child from .. » Read More

Malawi: Right to Bail for Terminally Ill Remandees

The case law in Malawi deemed that bail should only be granted in cases of terminal illness and only if the illness could not reasonably be managed in prison. It also dictated that bail should be granted only for terminally ill detainees, who contracted their illnesses before they were imprisoned, but not if the illness occurred in prison.   SALC challenged this .. » Read More