Next month, the Constitutional Court will hear oral arguments as Robert Tsambo, father of the late Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo, seeks to challenge what he calls problematic uncertainties, unfairness, grey areas, ambiguities and guesswork about customary marriages in South African law.
IOL reports that Tsambo senior believes that customary marriages are subject to unequal and unfair treatment under the eyes of the law, as they do not operate under the same set of fixed laws as civil marriages.
Citing court papers filed by Lerato’s father-in-law, the publication reports that Tsambo senior argued:
”There is a need for 80% of the population of this country to have clarity of application of the legal system which is central to them forming new relationships of marriage. The legal system must enable them to practise their custom of customary marriage without the uncertainty of what the various legal precedents are creating in their customary marriages.”
The reason for Tsambo’s challenge is a last-ditch effort to get a court to side with him in declaring his son’s marriage to Lerato null and void.
He has been fighting this battle since his son died back in 2018 and the matter has made its way through both the South Gauteng High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
Both courts recognise Lerato as HHP’s wife as it was confirmed that lobola was paid for her and their union was celebrated at her family’s home thereafter.
Robert, however, does not agree with these criteria and has filed a counter-argument stating that Lerato was not “handed over” to her in-laws who essentially reside in Mahikeng. He adds that no lamb or a goat had been slaughtered in celebration of this union. Customs followed by the Tsambo family dictate that the couple was supposed to be washed/cleaned with the bile from these animals to cement the union and senior claims this never happened.
According to Lerato’s lawyer, Ndileka Sithole, she is not happy with Tsambo’s latest endeavours, however, she is ready to challenge him.
“My client is not very pleased with the continued appeal against the high court’s judgment in November 2018. She will continue to fight for the protection of her rights as the wife of the late Mr Jabulani Tsambo, and hopes for the matter to be finally put to rest.”