Today the 30th of October 2018 the Constitutional Court of South Africa handed down a unanimous judgment in the case of Mantshabelle Mary Rahube v Hedsrine Rahube confirming the judgment from the High Court declaring Section 2 (1) of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act 112 of 1991 (ULTRA) as unconstitutional


The High Court case sought to have Mary declared the owner of the property and challenge the constitutionality of section 2(1) of the Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Act 112 of 1991 (ULTRA) on the basis that it fails to give occupiers of a property notice and an opportunity to be heard prior to the conversion of rights over the property to full ownership.  


LHR argued in the Constitutional Court that that the absence of this opportunity, together with the gender and racially discriminatory laws that regulated the allocation of houses in the apartheid era, and allowed only adult males to become the holders of these rights, continues to cause indirect discrimination against female headed houses.


Today the Constitutional Court confirmed the order of the High Court and held that Section 2(1) of the Upgrading Act not only failed to meet the lowest constitutional threshold of rationality but that it was also unreasonable as it directly differentiated between men and women in a way that amounted to discrimination on the basis of gender.


The court further confirmed the retrospective order granted by the High Court with 3 limitations.

We welcome the judgment handed down by the Honourable Goliath AJ as it has taken great strides in ensuring the property rights of women are protected and LHR would like to thank Advocate A De Vos SC and Advocate M Maropa for their valuable contribution and commitment to see this matter through.


For further information, please contact:

Tarisai Mugunyani (0711013807) or Carol Mohlala (0792389826)

Lawyers for Human Rights

Land and Housing Programme