The Government of Swaziland /eSwatini has withdrawn a legal appeal to fight a court ruling that allowed married women equal rights to their husbands over assets.
The High Court had struck down provisions in the Marriage Act which gave men control over their wives and there assets. It said the common law doctrine of ‘marital power’ offended women’s constitutional rights to dignity and equality.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, and is a deeply conservative society. The King has himself taken at least 15 wives. In Swazi culture women are considered to be children and are ruled by their fathers, husbands or other male family members.
Attorney General Sifiso Mashampu Khumalo said in a statement that a new marriage bill was being drafted and he hoped to ‘fast-track’ it.
The withdrawal of the appeal means that the judgment of the High Court stands and women married through civil rites and in community of property will no longer have to seek consent from their husbands when buying or selling property.
Swaziland High Court rules married women equal under the law to their husbands