The Executive Director at the Ministry of Justice, Gladice Pickering, has described Namibia's laws around inheritance as discriminatory.

Speaking on nbc's Wheels of Justice on Sunday, Pickering shared her sentiments, saying the situation is unfortunate and there is an urgent need for the revision of the Act in its entirety.

Gladice Pickering cited the Administration of Estates Act and the Native Administration Proclamation as some of the examples that are discriminatory.

"If you are married above the redline, your wedding is deemed to be out of the community of property; unless a certain declaration is made within a certain time frame before the wedding is concluded, that has an impact on the inheritance regime. Even if you live in Windhoek and you die and your marriage was concluded in that area, then your inheritance needs to be dealt with according to the rules set out in that proclamation."

Pickering says the best way to circumvent this is for individuals to register a last will and testament, saying that will ensure exactly how estates are divided while authorities are drafting and amending less discriminatory laws.

Parts of the proclamation also make provision for Traditional Authorities to get involved when it comes to estates concluded under customary laws.

Legal practitioner Doris Hans-Kaumbi explains.

"Most of our customary laws are not codified, so you need to go to the Traditional Authority and ask for guidance in respect of what rules are currently applicable to this area when it comes to inheritance."

Past experiences have demonstrated that children and widows in particular were denied inheritance, especially when marriages were concluded under customary law.

This has seen the introduction of the Master of the High Court to oversee and supervise inheritances under customary laws.

Hans-Kaumbi says that there is, however, a positive trend developing as traditional authorities become more accommodating to widows and children.



Emil Xamro Seibeb