Media Statement

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Media Statement: Justice for the families of the CTCHC housing scheme

Media Statement

Justice for the families of the CTCHC housing scheme

Women have historically been disproportionately and negatively impacted by a lack of access to adequate housing, and evictions. There exists an ongoing discrimination faced by women in respect of access to land, housing, tenure security, and ownership; which also operates when women attempt to access social housing schemes. The Women’s Legal Centre (‘WLC’) therefore welcomes the unanimous decision of the Constitutional Court in the matter of Amardien and 12 Others v Registrar of Deeds and 4 Others (Case CCT 212/17), which was handed down on 28 November 2018. The decision sets aside and replaces the order of the High Court which upheld the cancellation of instalment sale agreements between CTCHC and the Applicants, and the sale of their homes. Had the matter not come before the Constitutional Court, the High Court decision would have opened the Applicants, along with their families, up to eviction and the loss of their homes.

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Women’s Legal Centre Statement: Satchwell Report in Equal Education Inquiry disregards sexual harassment complainants

Media Statement

Satchwell Report in Equal Education Inquiry disregards sexual harassment complainants:

In August 2018 the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) received instructions on behalf of numerous women to provide them with advice and to represent them before an Inquiry established by Equal Education (EE) to investigate allegations of sexual harassment and similar misconduct by Doron Isaacs (Isaacs) during his tenure at EE. The Terms of Reference also instructed the Panel to review a previous investigation against Isaacs for sexual harassment in 2011 and to look into allegations of silencing and intimidation of complaints against Isaacs. The Panel was further tasked with investigating allegations contained in the Mail and Guardian against Isaacs and Zackie Achmat (Achmat).

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Statement – WLCT v President of the Republic of South Africa & Others

Media Statement

Women’s Legal Centre Trust v President of the Republic of South Africa & Others (case no: 22481/2014) – Recognition of Muslim Marriages:

The Women’s Legal Centre welcomes the judgment handed down by the Western Cape High Court this morning (31 Aug 2018) by Honourable Judges Desai, Boqwana, and Salie-Hlophe.

The judgment declares that the President and Cabinet have failed to fulfil their constitutional obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in sections 9, 10, 15, 28, 31 and 34 of the Constitution[1], and that such conduct is invalid.[2] The President and Cabinet, together with Parliament have been directed to rectify this failure within 24 months and to enact ‘legislation to recognise marriages solemnised in accordance with the tenets of Sharia law (`Muslim marriages’) as valid marriages and to regulate the consequences of such recognition.’[3] In addition, the judgment has ordered that should such legislation not be enacted within the 24 month period, marriages solemnised in terms of Sharia law may ‘be dissolved in accordance with the Divorce Act 70 of 1979’, provided that section 7(3)[4] of the Act will apply to such unions.[5]

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Moosa NO and others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and others

Media Statement

Moosa NO and others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and others (Trustees of The Women’s Legal Centre Trust as Amicus Curiae) CCT 251/17:

The Women’s Legal Centre welcomes the unanimous judgment handed down this morning (29 June 2018) by the Constitutional Court in the matter of Moosa NO and Others v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others (Trustees of the Women’s Legal Centre Trust as Amicus Curiae). Once again, the Court has had to come to the assistance of Muslim women in this country, who continue to face the negative consequences of their marriages not being legally recognised.

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Levenstein and Others v Estate of the Late Sidney Lewis Frankel and Others

Media Statement

Levenstein and Others v Estate of the Late Sidney Lewis Frankel and Others (Case CCT: 170/17)

The Women’s Legal Centre welcomes the unanimous judgment handed down this morning (14 June 2018) by the Constitutional Court in the matter of Levenstein and Others v Estate of the Late Sidney Lewis Frankel and Others (Case CCT: 170/17).

The judgment was a confirmation of the order handed down on 15 June 2017 by Hartford, AJ sitting in the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg. The case concerned the constitutionality of section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 (the CPA), which prohibits the prosecution of sexual offences, other than rape or compelled rape, beyond a period of twenty years from the time when the offence was committed. Continue Reading

Statement – Voice of the Unborn Baby – 1 June 2018

Media Statement

Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition members apply to join as a friend of the court to ensure that women’s rights to safe and legal abortions are not eroded in South Africa

On Monday, 28 May 2018, members of the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition (SRJC) legal working group applied to be admitted as amici curiae in the matter between The Voice of the Unborn Baby NPC and the Catholic Archdiocese of Durban as Applicants, and the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Health as Respondents. The SRJC legal working group includes representatives from the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), Women in Sexual and Reproductive Health Associates (WISH), Amnesty International, and Legal Academics. In this matter the WLC and LRC are representing the Women’s Legal Centre Trust and WISH. The case was brought in 2017 in the Pretoria Division of the High Court, and seeks to declare certain sections of the Births and Deaths Registration Act unconstitutional as they do not provide ‘bereaved parents’ the right to bury a foetus that has died before the age of viability (26 weeks in utero). This relief could have an impact on the right to access safe and legal abortions.

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Court case seeks to the end the prescription of sexual offences.

Media Statement

Sexual Harassment in the Social Justice Sector

The Women’s Legal Centre is an African feminist legal centre that advances women’s rights and equality. Like so many other institutions in the social justice sector we have been deeply affected by the recent media reports, statements and admissions from individuals and organisations who we have considered partners and friends.

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Western Cape Education Department & another v S (Women’s Legal Centre as Amicus Curiae)

Western Cape Education Department & another v S (Women’s Legal Centre as Amicus Curiae)

Media Statement

Head of Department: Western Cape Education Department & another v S (Women’s Legal Centre as Amicus Curiae) (1209/2016) [2017]:

The Women’s Legal Centre welcomes the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday 13 December 2017.

The judgment concerned the mother of a child who had attended Fish Hoek High School since 2011. Ms S submitted her first application for a fee exemption in that same year. The form required, inter alia, that the combined annual gross income of the child’s parents be provided. Continue Reading

We are shocked at the arrest of our colleagues by the Tanzanian Police

Media Statement

Issued by CHESA and ISLA.

20 October 2017, Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania: On Tuesday, 17 October 2017, a legal consultation convened by Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) and Community Health Services and Advocacy (CHESA) was raided by the Tanzanian Police. The consultation was convened in order to get more instructions and evidence on a case that we plan to file before a court. The case concerns a challenge to government’s decision to limit the provision of certain health services that it had previously provided. Continue Reading

Court case seeks to the end the prescription of sexual offences.

Court case seeks to the end the prescription of sexual offences.

Media Statement

Court case seeks to the end the prescription of sexual offences.

Today 22 May the Women’s Legal Centre will appear as a ‘friend of the court’ (amicus curiae) in the South Gauteng High Court in the matter between Levenstein (and 7 others) and Sidney Frankel, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gauteng (Case 29573/2016). The WLC largely supports the case of the applicants (Levenstein & others) who are seeking to declare section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act as unconstitutional in that it bars the right to prosecute all sexual offences, other than rape, after a lapse of 20 years after the offence has been perpetrated.

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