October 15, 2021

Government begins talks on new marriage laws for South Africa

The Division of House Affairs (DHA) has begun public consultations on its Inexperienced Paper on Marriages in South Africa.

The division mentioned the consultations, which is able to happen at workshops all through the nation, comply with the submission of public feedback earlier this yr.

“The Green Paper on Marriages in South Africa was approved by Cabinet in April 2021 for public consultation and gazetted for public comments on 4 May 2021 with public comments invited until 30 June 2021,” it mentioned.

“Inputs received during consultations will be consolidated into a White Paper which will articulate government’s position on the regulation of marriages in South Africa.”

What to anticipate

The Inexperienced Paper goals to develop a new Single Marriage Invoice and can align the nation’s marriage regime with the constitutional precept of equality.

The paper makes proposals on unions of individuals from all sexual orientations, non secular and cultural persuasions. It additionally proposes the whole elimination of kid marriages in our future marriage regime, the division mentioned.

The laws that at the moment regulates marriages in South Africa has been developed with out an overarching coverage primarily based on constitutional values and an understanding of contemporary social dynamics.

This has led to the popularity of various marriage rituals with none harmonisation, it mentioned.

“Regardless of all of the adjustments which were made within the marriage laws post-1994, there are nonetheless severe gaps within the present laws. As an illustration, the present laws doesn’t regulate some non secular marriages such because the Hindu, Muslim and different customary marriages which are practised in some African or royal households.

“Given the diversity of the South Africa population, it is virtually impossible to pass legislation governing every single religious or cultural marriage practice. It is against this background that the DHA is embarking in the process of developing a marriage policy that will lay a policy foundation for drafting a new single or omnibus legislation.”

A number of the crucial adjustments which were mooted within the inexperienced paper embrace:

  • The new Marriage Act will allow South Africans of various sexual orientations, non secular and cultural persuasions to conclude authorized marriages;
  • The introduction of strict guidelines across the age of marriage (together with the alignment of the age of majority within the marriage laws to the Youngsters’s Act);
  • It would align the marriage, marital property and divorce laws to deal with marital property and intestate succession issues within the occasion of the marriage dissolution;
  • It would enable for equitable remedy and respect for non secular and customary beliefs in keeping with Part 15 of the Structure.
  • It would cope with the solemnisation and registration of marriages that contain overseas nationals;
  • It would cope with the solemnisation and registration of customary marriages that contain non-citizens, particularly cross-border communities or residents of our neighbouring international locations.

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