CAPE TOWN - The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Friday made a landmark ruling which will give women in polygamous marriages more bargaining power.
The SCA overturned a high court ruling which stated women in polygamous marriages, which were not registered, are not legally married.
The new ruling gives wife number two and three more proprietary rights when their marriages end.
The Customary Marriages Act recognises all parties in a polygamous marriage as having equal rights.
It is aimed at protecting the first wife as well as additional spouses.
But a high court ruled these marriages must be registered before certain proprietary rights are recognised.
The Women's Legal Centre's Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker said the SCA found that decision to be unconstitutional.
“By holding the second marriage to be invalid that second wife would then not have any protection. In terms of the Constitution and the right to equality, it didn't hold water.”
Abrahams-Fayker labeled the ruling a victory in the fight for gender equality.
(Edited by Zethu Zulu)