September Newsletter

Home / Newsletters / September Newsletter

View the September Newsletter

WLC wins in NM vs AR Matter
The WLC successfully won an interdict application in a traditional marriages case where the husband sold the marital home without consent of the parties.
Muslim Widows Rights Vindicated In The Harneker Matter
The Harneker was heard on Monday 14 August, and , Judge Le Grange of the Western Cape High Court declared section 2 (1) ( c) of the Wills Act unconstitutional as it does not recognise the equality rights of spouses married in terms of Muslim rites.
Postponement of the SJC Matter
This matter to be heard on 28-30 November. The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is taking the Minister of Police to court over the allocation of policing resources in Khayalitsha.  The Women’s Legal Centre is providing a gendered perspective on how the lack of access to police resources is unfairly affecting women. 
Confirmation Application Levenstein
Matter set down for hearing on 14 November 2017 at Constitutional Court. In the matter of Levenstein, application was made to the Constitutional Court in June 2017 for confirmation of the High Court  judgement which declared s 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act unconstitutional (prescription of sexual offences, other than rape, after 20 years). WLC has been cited as a respondent. While WLC supports the application of confirmation, we submitted  our application to adduce further evidence in July 2017  to  substantiate our argument that the declaration should include all sexual offences, and should apply irrespective if the sexual offence is perpetrated against an adult or child.


On the 18th of August 2017, the WLC was given an opportunity to do a presentation on the Domestic Violence Act at Nonceba Family Counselling Centre in Khayelitsha. The aim of the event was to support Domestic Violence Prevention, and was well attended by women who live in the shelter and community members. The audience were able to ask questions and share their experiences. We also assisted handing out booklets with guidelines for drafting a protection order and the steps that need to take place to secure a protection order.

Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women Campaign!

The state is failing women who are reporting cases of domestic or sexual violence, which is why , together with other civil rights groups, we have started a campaign to do something about this challenge.

To find out more and support us follow us at @endingimpunityforviolenceagainstwomen 

The Legal Workshop on the ACDP Bill with the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition

The Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition - SRJC  is a coalition of organisations and individuals engaged in advocacy, research, service delivery, education, policy analysis   [read more="Read More" less="Read Less"] 

and activism work in the fields of gender, sexual and reproductive justice, health, rights and care. Its mission is to provide a platform through which individuals and organisations produce and use evidence to foster informed public debate and consensus building working towards holding policy makers and implementers accountable for progress towards realising sexual and reproductive justice for all.

The Women’s Legal Centre is a member and forms part of the SRJC legal strategy task team who drafted the submission on the proposed changes to the South African abortion law by the ACDP which was submitted on 11 August 2017.

On Friday 09 September the legal strategy task team meet to discuss the ACDP bill. The task team consisted of members from the sexual reproductive rights coalition, Women in Sexual Reproductive  Rights , The Women’s Legal Centre, Lawyers for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Triangle and SWEAT.


Charlene May

Charlene is an attorney joining us from the Legal Resources Centre’s. She will be heading up the WLC Relationship Rights Focus Area. Charlene holds an LLB degree from the University of the Western Cape and is an admitted attorney.

Annette Brooks

Annette has joined our administration team as our bookkeeper. She worked at an Insurance Broker in the finance department, and for the last twelve years has worked full time and part time for NGO’s in the administration departments.

Shreya Munoth

Shreya joined us as an intern and is a practicing attorney in courts in New Delhi, India. She recently completed her postgraduate degree in law (BCL) from the University of Oxford.

Wills act challenged by Muslim Widows.
A Cape Town man’s two elderly widows have succeeded in changing the law of the land.
Parliament must dismiss Mr Mduduzi Manana as an MP, to send a clear message that violence against women will not be tolerated.
Our director, Seehaam Samaai explains why.
How can Manana still be considered worthy to serve as an MP?
“Many Muslim spouses and their children face stigma due to their traditional marriages and the view that their children are illegitimate."
"In addition, Muslim women are often left with no access to property, money, or resources in the event of divorce.” Listen to this interview with Pippa Hudson
When enough is enough:
Why are Muslim marriages still fighting for recognition?


The Women's Legal Centre wants President Jacob Zuma to fire Deputy Higher Education Minister, Mduduzi Manana. In a letter to the president, the organization says it will launch an urgent court application if Zuma fails to do this. Manana has recently been under intense public scrutiny for assaulting a woman at a Johannesburg restaurant last week. Advocate Bronwyn Pithey comments on the issue. 

Further to this the WLC has written to Parliament to insist that Mr Manana is dismissed as a member of parliament.  Read more 



On Saturday 16 September our Director Seehaam Samaai, attended a report back workshop on the Muslim Marriages Public Interest Case that was postponed.   The workshop was hosted at The Market Deli & The Legal Cafe,


A pamper day is just what the ladies at the WLC needed, after a very busy women’s month!


The non-recognition of Muslim marriages two decade long Law Reform process.  to have a look at our infographic that explains this process. 

From Monday 28 to Thursday 07 September, the matter was heard by Judges S Desai, G Salie-Hlophe and NP Boqwana, at the Cape High Court.

The failure to grant legal recognition to Muslim Marriages has far reaching implications and consequences for women in Muslim Marriages as they do not have the same protections offered to women in civil marriages . WLC launched an application aimed at providing women in Muslim marriages with legal protections. WLC is not directing government to legislate the Muslim Marriages Personal law Bill but requesting the State to fulfil their constitutional obligations to protect, promote and fulfil the rights of Muslim women and to recognise Muslim Marriages as valid marriages for all purposes in South Africa and to regulate the consequences of such recognition in whatever form. Whether by enacting specific legislation or amending existing legislation or amending the common law.

[read more="Read More" less="Read Less"] This case must be seen within our own historical context and how intersecting issues of class , race, gender impact on the daily realities of Muslim women married in terms of legally unrecognised Muslim marriages. Muslim women in South Africa have multiple forms of intersecting identities which all impact on their lives. This case therefore cannot be seen though one marginalised lens which is religion. Muslim women in SA have endured systematic injustice and inequality within society and the State has an obligation in terms of our constitution to address the historical and intersectional discrimination perpetuated against Muslim women. [/read]


We attended the South African Women Lawyers Association Annual General Meeting and our Director, Seehaam Samaai was a speaker on the program. She spoke about the impact of state capture on women's access to resources and about the Ending Impunity campaign.


The Women’s Legal Centre supported this great exhibition by highlighting how abuse victims tend to under-report crimes mainly because of secondary victimisation when entering the justice system. South Africa’s current justice system, in particular the police, is not resourced to provide victims with proper support.