Man loses appeal against son's widow
MBABANE – A man has lost an appeal against his son’s widow over vehicles and 20 head of cattle.
Elijah Matsebula together with his son Sibusiso had dispossessed Cebisile Hlophe the widow of David Vini Matsebula upon his death. Hlophe had only been married to the deceased for four months when he died.
She approached the court to compel them to release the properties and was granted but they filed an appeal.
Hlophe was married to the deceased in May 2007 through Swazi Law and Custom and he died in September 2007.
The deceased was an Illovo employee and they had no children. She subsequently became the heir and beneficiary.
She was granted letters of administration and appointed executrix of the deceased’s estate.
The Supreme Court was told that Hlophe received stiff opposition from her in-laws, who withheld the deceased’s assets.
The High Court had ordered that Elijah the brother of the deceased to release two Isuzu vans, two Nissan vehicles a tractor as well as 20 cattle, but they appealed the judgment. The appeal was heard by Judge Stanley Moore.
"In my judgment the appellants’ real grievance stemmed from the fact that after barely four months of marriage to the deceased the respondent should come into all that wealth.
"This is understandable human frailty, but it was no defence to the respondent’s legal status as the sole heir and executrix of her husband’s estate.
"It may well be that they genuinely believed that they were entitled to some share of the deceased’s estate, hence the claim that the deceased’s estate was legally liable to maintain the deceased’s parents during their respective lives," Judge Moore said.
He said though such was a reasonable expectation, it was not sufficient to derogate Hlophe of her right as an heir and sole beneficiary.
He confirmed the High Court’s decision that the father and brother-in-law should hand over the assets to Hlophe.
He also ordered them to pay costs. Hlophe was represented by Mandla Mkhwanazi in the matter.
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