High Court saves widow

Shiputa no longer has to pay for husband's suicide

31 January 2020 | Justice

The Windhoek High Court has set aside a Gciriku traditional court ruling that a widow should pay 15 heads of cattle or N$30 000 to her dead husband's family after he committed suicide.

The High Court delivered judgement in the matter involving Hendrika Kashova Shiputa on Wednesday.

Last May, Shiputa was ordered to pay compensation by the traditional or community court after her husband Mukwangu Haingura Mukwangu committed suicide by hanging himself in February of the same year.

The traditional authority found that Shiputa was liable to pay compensation because her husband committed suicide at her home village.

Last year, Shiputa's lawyer Norman Tjombe launched an application in the High Court to have the traditional court ruling set aside.

Tjombe said in a media statement on Wednesday that the High Court ruling was a victory for women's rights.

He said women often bear the brunt of accusations of witchcraft, especially in rural areas.

“The decisions of the traditional authority and the headmen involved have been set aside and are invalid. Nothing can happen to Shiputa now,” Tjombe said.

Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula presided over the matter.