The Minister of Home Affairs has announced that his department is currently working on making a number of changes to South Africa’s marriage laws. According to Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, the updated policy must deal with the following: human dignity, equality and non-discrimination.

“The reason we want to change the current marriage policy is because it is wrong, and it is not working for South Africans,” he said. “There’s no law that prevents children from getting married. Children can obtain consent but parents provide the wrong consent.”

According to Motsoaledi, gaps have been identified in the current legislation. These include:

– The current legislation does not regulate some religious marriages such as the Hindu, Muslim and other customary marriages

– The Recognition of Customary Marriages Act does not make any provision for entering into a polygamous marriage with individuals who are not South African citizens. This poses a challenge when such marriages are entered into, especially when members of the same clan plan to get married but are separated by borders

– The legislation also does not make provision for couples who have their sex status changed while married under the Marriage Act, but wish to retain their marital status without a divorce as currently required by law

– While in terms of the African tradition, chiefs or traditional leaders have a recognised role in the conclusion of a customary marriage, the legislation does not extend to traditional leaders

Motsoaledi added that South Africa’s current marriage legislation discriminates against some religious marriages. These include religions such as Hindu and Muslim marriages, along with African customary marriages.

Lastly, the Minister said that his department is looking to crack down on fraudulent and fake marriages.

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