…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that his department is working on an executive bill that will regulate all marriages and divorces in the country.
This news comes as cold comfort to those affected by the drawn-out process of legislation.
The bill has been provisioned and aims to introduce interim protections to Muslim marriages while the government works on a new umbrella marriage bill.
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks has briefed Parliament on the Registration of Muslim Marriages Bill before a portfolio committee meeting.
The Constitutional Court ruling in June 2022 gave legal status to marriages under Muslim Sharia law, bringing relief to Muslim women who were often left destitute due to their lack of power to enforce maintenance and protect their children’s rights.
The Provisioned Bill for Muslim Marriages
The provisioned Muslim Marriage bill would recognize Muslim marriages and include requirements for the conclusion of a valid Muslim marriage, the solemnization of Muslim marriages, the registration of Muslim marriages, the propriety and other consequences of Muslim marriages, the dissolution of Muslim marriages, and the consequences of dissolution of Muslim marriages.
The automatic repeal upon the promulgation of any final legislation by Parliament, which addresses the failures identified by the courts, is also included in the provisioned bill.
Con-Court Approval of Marriages Under Muslim Sharia Law
The Constitutional Court ruling in June 2022 gave legal status to marriages under Muslim Sharia law, ensuring that Muslim women in Sharia law marriages or divorce are no longer left destitute.
This is because they now have the power to enforce maintenance and protect their children’s rights.
Motsoaledi announced that the Muslim Marriage bill is unnecessary as his department is working on an executive bill that will regulate all marriages in South Africa.
He added that the department’s marriage and divorce bill would address many of the issues presented by Hendricks.
Analysis and Commentary
South Africa has long been grappling with the regulation of marriages, particularly in the Muslim community.
While the recognition of Muslim marriages by the Constitutional Court is a significant step forward, the lack of regulation still poses challenges for Muslim women.
The provisioned Muslim Marriage bill aims to address these challenges while the government works on a new umbrella marriage bill for the country.
However, the delay in the legislative process is causing concern for those who are affected by it.
The development of an executive bill regulating all marriages and divorces in South Africa is a promising move towards solving the issue once and for all.
The regulation of all marriages will ensure that all parties involved, regardless of their religion, will be protected and treated fairly under the law.