Women and Justice: Court: High Court of Swaziland

Domestic Case Law

Nombuyiselo Siholongonyane v. Mholi Joseph Sihlongonyane High Court of Swaziland (2013)

Gender discrimination

Husband challenged his wife’s capacity to initiate legal proceedings without his consent. The common law permitted a married woman to sue without the consent of her husband only if the woman attained approval from the court first. The High Court held that this common law requirement was unfair discrimination because it applied only to women and not to men, a violation of Sections 20 and 28 of the Constitution, which respectively state that “all persons are equal before and under the law” and that “women have the right to equal treatment with men.”

Bheki Amos Mkhaliphi v. Rex High Court of Swaziland (2013)

Gender-based violence in general

Appellant convicted of murdering a woman and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. Appellant appealed the verdict and sentence, claiming that he did not possess the requisite intent to kill and mitigating circumstances that he was 35-years old, a first offender, gainfully employed and a breadwinner supporting two children should reduce his sentence. The High Court dismissed his appeal finding that the stab wounds to the victim demonstrated intent to kill and that the mitigating circumstances were properly weighed when the sentence was determined. The Court further stated, “Violence against women is a matter of great concern to the community at large and sentences imposed on perpetrators should reflect its rightful indignation at such crimes.”

Rex v. Mfanzile Mkhwanazi High Court of Swaziland (2003)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

The accused was charged on two counts of rape of a 14 year old girl and of an 11 year old girl. The Court noted that in cases where the complainants are young and may be prone to flights of imagination leading to false accusations, the accusations should only be doubted in so far as the child's capacity for recollection and observation seem questionable.  In this case, the children were found to be trustworthy and the accused convicted of both counts.