COLD COMFORT FOR THE PARTIES TO A MUSLIM MARRIAGE - THE SAGA CONTINUES Hassam v Jacobs NO (Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa and Women’s Legal Trust as Amici Curiae  ZACC 19
Keywords:Muslim marriage, polygynous, Muslim rites to be an heir
In Hassam v Jacobs NO (Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa and Women’s Legal Trust as Amici Curiae) ( ZACC 19), the Constitutional Court was faced with an application for the confirmation of constitutional invalidity of section 1(4)(f) of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 (hereinafter “the ISA”). The application was made pursuant to the decision of the Western Cape High Court, Cape Town in Hassam v Jacobs NO ( 4 All SA 350 (C)), where it was held that the word “spouse” as utilized in the ISA could be extended to include parties in a de facto polygynous Muslim marriage. The impugned provisions of the ISA were held to exclude widows of polygynous Muslim marriages in a discriminatory manner from the protection offered by the ISA. The Western Cape High Court therefore declared section 1(4)(f) of the ISA to be inconsistent with the Constitution as it makes provision for only one spouse in a marriage entered into in accordance with the tenets Muslim rites to be an heir. The decision of Western Cape High Court was referred to the Constitutional Court in terms of section 172(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, Act 108 of 1996.
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