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MBABANE – She won in life and lost in death. The first wife of the late public transport operator Richard Themba ‘Phakama’ Dlamini, who owned a fleet of buses among other property, successfully challenged the authenticity of the marriages of the businessmen’s other three wives.

Judge Mumcy Dlamini found that Sarah Dlamini was married to the businessman in terms of civil rites and that the Swazi Law and Custom marriages of the late businessman to Martha Makhanya of Mchaphozini, Jenneth Sihlongonyane of Mahlanya and Cecelia Makhanya of Ezulwini were bigamous.

The judge also ordered the entry records of the subsequent marriages to be expunged from the registry of Births, Marriages and Deaths. The three women filed an appeal of Judge Dlamini’s ruling.

However, the Supreme Court has allowed the appeal and set aside Judge Dlamini’s decision.  The Chief Justice (CJ), Bheki Maphalala, who sat with Judge Majahenkhaba Dlamini and Judge Jacobus Annandale, dismissed the application filed by Sarah, who died before the appeal was heard, and ordered that costs be borne by the estate.   

The cj said the matter was abstract, hypothetical and academic and that not all interested parties were heard and joined in the proceedings. Maphalala stated that the businessman was denied the opportunity to be heard and that Sarah died before the appeal was heard. “This further fortifies my conclusion that the application is raising abstract, hypothetical and academic questions. For this reason, the court a quo failed to exercise its jurisdiction judiciously,” said the cj.

He said it should be noted that the application was lodged with a view to bolster the applicant’s resolve to be appointed the executor of Richard’s estate which was why the appointment of the executor was stayed pending finalisation of the matter. Makhanya, Sihlongonyane and Cecelia were represented by Ben Simelane while Thandeka Hlabangana appeared on behalf of Sarah.

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