Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) Acting Judge Hasani Malungana has ruled that two women, who were married to the same man, are recognised as the deceased’s legal widows and, if they so want, can have both of their marriages registered.

The Star reports the ruling comes after Mpho Molokane approached the court to have Rosy Williams’ marriage to her husband declared invalid.

Molokane and Williams were both married to Alfred Mohlale.

The report notes after Mohlale’s burial in 2015, Molokane approached the Department of Home Affairs to have her customary marriage to the deceased registered, which was done and a certificate was issued.

Subsequent to that, Williams also went to the department to have her marriage with Mohlale registered and that is when she learned that Mohlale has a registered marriage with Molokane.

In court, Williams said the deceased paid R14 000 lobola in two instalments and the cultural and traditional celebrations were also held at her parental home after he settled the balance in May 2004. She said she did not know about the extra marital affair which the deceased had with Molokane.

Meanwhile, Molokane testified that she has no knowledge that the deceased was married to Williams. She said she learned about their marriage from the Master’s Office after she applied to be appointed as executrix of the deceased’s estate. 

The Star says after hearing all the submissions, Malungana said Williams’ evidence was coherent and reliable, as opposed to Molokane’s, whose oral testimony did not align with her affidavit.

However, he said based on the objective evidence, both women were married to the deceased but only one marriage could be registered under community of property.

Malungana said regarding how the deceased and Molokane concluded their marriage, there was non-compliance regarding certain requirements which had to be met as stated in the Recognition of Customary Marriage Act.

He ordered the Master of the High Court to withdraw the appointment of Molokane as an executrix of the deceased estate.

Full report in The Star