MEDIA ADVISORY: BOTSWANA HIGH COURT TO ISSUE LANDMARK JUDGMENT IN WOMEN’S RIGHTS CASE

Salc : Staff Writer

Botswana High Court to Issue Landmark Judgment in Women’s Rights Case

Johannesburg— On Thursday, the Botswana High Court will issue judgment in Mmusi and Others v Ramantele and Others, a case challenging a customary law rule that only allows for male only inheritance of the family home.

“Women’s equality is long overdue in Botswana. This landmark decision will determine whether Botswana is serious about ending discrimination against women or whether women will continue to have a secondary status under the law in Botswana,” stated Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

What:              The Botswana High Court will issue judgment inMmusi and Others v Ramantele    and Others, a case challenging a customary law rule denying women the right to inherit the family home.

Where:            High Court, Gaborone, Botswana

When:             09:30am, 11 October 2012

This case challenges an Ngwaketse customary law rule providing that the youngest born son inherits the family home. In this case, three sisters all over 65 years, claim they have lived in the family home and have spent their money on improving the homestead and thus should inherit. The youngest born in the family is one of the sisters. Their claim is being challenged by their nephew who claims his father was given the home by the youngest born son.

At issue is whether a youngest born daughter can inherit the home. The Attorney-General presented arguments after being asked to intervene by the Court. The Attorney-General argued that despite the discriminatory nature of the rule, Botswana society was not ready for equality and thus the rule should stand.

The Court is expected to address whether the discriminatory rule violates the right to equality under the Botswana Constitution.

For more information:

Priti Patel:      +27 11 587 5065 (o)

+27 76 808 0505 (m)

pritip@salc.org.za

For live updates from the court:@Follow_SALC