Should succession replace customary law in townships?


Should succession replace customary law in townships?

People are still facing the repercussions of apartheid laws, which impact inheritance claims and relationships

Kagiso Mahlangu

Owning a home is a significant milestone. It transverses many societal layers and offers homeowners and their families security, emotional and financial stability and spiritual, while allowing them to build up generational wealth to create a solid foundation for future generations’ success. But in SA’s historical dispensation, a huge portion of the population was denied property rights because of apartheid laws. These included the Black Land Act, Group Areas Act and Black Administration Act.

While we understand laws ensure fairness and safety and are meant to uphold people’s rights, these laws served to control where black people could reside. Township homes during this era were “rented” to families. The property rights of these homes were transferred to owners at the end of apartheid on the basis of permits that listed the family members connected to the home, creating the concept of the collective family home.

Today, black communities are facing the repercussions of these racialised and exclusionary laws as the first generation of township homeowners begins to pass the torch to the next generation. The question of who should inherit ownership of these homes is leading to heated disputes in families still required to battle out customary inheritance claims under the framework of apartheid-era bureaucratic processes and legislation. ..

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