Land & Custom

Customary law is an established system of immemorial rules [...] evolved from the way of life and natural wants of the people, the general context of which was a matter of common knowledge, coupled with precedents applying to special cases, which were retained in the memories of the chief and his councilors, their sons and their sons' sons until forgotten, or until they became part of the immemorial rules. [Bekker, 1989] 

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Wife "charged" 15 cows by traditional court after husband commits suicide

Kathova Shiputa can’t afford to lose 15 cows. Her husband, Mukwangu Haingura Mikwangu recently committed suicide and now she is the sole parent of their four-year-old child and a second child due in October. But she has been “sentenced” by a Namibian traditional court to hand over those precious cattle as punishment for the “crime” of causing her husband to kill himself.

Ghana’s Supreme Court orders chief’s name reinstated in national register of traditional leaders

Read judgment on GhaLII here

FOR commoners among readers, this is a particularly interesting decision. It trawls the arcane administrative processes required before a chief in Ghana is either “enstooled” or on the other hand, removed, “destooled or deskinned”.

Major precedent set for communities affected by mining

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in favour of communities arguing for a bigger say in mining decisions.

Members of the Lesetlheng community in North West were granted an appeal to an eviction notice that was previously approved by the North West High Court in 2017. It would have seen 13 families evicted from their farmland to make way for a mining project of Bakgatla Mineral Resources and Pilanesburg Platinum Mine (PPM).

Traditional king ordered to appear in court and testify about his decisions

The unusual court case was the result of a long-running feud within Namibia’s Ondonga traditional authority and involves senior traditional leaders and advisers to the King, the “Omukwaniilwa” of Ondonga. At some stage six of these advisers were sacked and they then asked the court to intervene.

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