MEDIA ADVISORY: TIME TO SCRAP BOTSWANA’S DISCRIMINATORY CUSTOMARY INHERITANCE LAW

Salc : Staff Writer

Time to scrap Botswana’s discriminatory customary inheritance law

Johannesburg—On Monday, the Botswana High Court will hear arguments in Mmusi and Others v Ramantele and Another, a case challenging a customary rule of inheritance which provides for male-only inheritance of the family home at the exclusion of daughters.

“The time has come to scrap this discriminatory customary inheritance law and bring it in line with the values and rights enshrined in the Botswana Constitution,” stated Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

What:             The Botswana High Court will hear arguments in Mmusi and Others v Ramantele and Another, a case challenging a customary law rule on inheritance

Where:            High Court, Lobatse, Botswana before Justice Dingake

When:             09:30am, Monday 14 May

This case, an appeal from a 2009 decision of the Customary Court of Appeal, challenges the Ngwaketse customary inheritance law which provides that the family home should be inherited by the youngest son.

The dispute is between Edith Mmusi and her sisters and their half-brother’s son, Molefi Ramantele, who claims that his now deceased father inherits the family home. The parties approached the Lower Customary Court, which found in 2007 that under Ngwaketse customary law, the home belonged to Ramantele. This was challenged in the Higher Customary Court by Mmusi and her sisters. The Higher Customary Court held that the family home belonged to all the children. This decision was appealed by both parties to the Customary Court of Appeal.

The Customary Court of Appeal in its decision applied the customary law rule and held that Ramantele was entitled to the family home. Mmusi and her sisters appealed that ruling to the High Court arguing that the customary law rule violated their right to equality under section 3 of the Constitution.

For more information:

Priti Patel:       +27 11 587 5065 (o)

+27 83 784 8496 (m)

+27 76 808 0505 (m)

pritip@salc.org.za

For live updates from the court:@Follow_SALC

For background on the casewww.southernafricalitigationcentre.org