The Department of House Affairs (DHA) is dealing with modifications to South Africa’s marital relationship and civil union systems to much better show the variety of the nation’s relationships and eliminate any circumstances of discrimination.

In a discussion on Thursday (4 November), the department’s primary info officer, Sihle Mthiyane, stated that this would consist of a basic harmonisation of the system, which is fragmented throughout numerous pieces of legislation, consisting of the Marriage Act and the Civil Unions Act.

Under South Africa’s existing legal system, a civil marital relationship is a marital relationship that can just be participated in between a guy and a lady. By contrast, a civil union is participated in between 2 individuals and consist of individuals of the exact same sex.

Based upon this, the department is leaning towards the intro of an omnibus marital relationship legislation, he stated.

” With the marital relationship program, we are likewise attempting to move towards a gender-neutral marital relationship program,” Mthiyane stated. “An omnibus marital relationship legislation is what we are moving towards, which will cover all types of marital relationship.”

This lines up with propositions advanced by the department in its Green Paper on Marriages in South Africa, which started public assessments in October.

The Green Paper efficiently advances 3 marital relationship routines which the nation might follow in the future, consisting of:

  • Omnibus or Umbrella Marriage Act— The omnibus legislation is a single act that will include various chapters for a varied set of legal requirements of civil marital relationships, civil unions, popular marital relationships, and other marital relationships that are not managed by the existing legislation.
  • Single Marriage Act— A single Marriage Act has a unified set of requirements and repercussions using to all marital relationships. The department stated that this alternative might not fit the nation’s combined legal system and may not pass the Constitutional muster.
  • Parallel Marriages Acts— The retention of the status quo is likewise a choice that needs factor to consider, the department stated. This alternative will need more marital relationship legislation that need to deal with the marital relationships that are left out by the existing marital relationship legislation.
Other modifications

The department’s green paper likewise proposes modifications for traditional marital relationships and more basic modifications around unions, age, and permission.

” Despite all the modifications that have actually been made in the marital relationship legislation post-1994, there are still major spaces in the existing legislation. For example, the present legislation does not manage some spiritual marital relationships such as the Hindu, Muslim and other traditional marital relationships that are practiced in some African or royal households.

” Given the variety of the South Africa population, it is practically difficult to pass legislation governing every spiritual or cultural marital relationship practice. It protests this background that the DHA is embarking in the procedure of establishing a marital relationship policy that will lay a policy structure for preparing a brand-new single or omnibus legislation.”

A few of the essential propositions consist of:

  • The brand-new Marriage Act will allow South Africans of various sexual preferences, spiritual and cultural persuasions to conclude legal marital relationships;
  • The intro of rigorous guidelines around the age of marital relationship– consisting of the positioning of the age of bulk in the marital relationship legislation to the Children’s Act;
  • It will line up the marital relationship, marital residential or commercial property and divorce legislation to deal with marital residential or commercial property and intestate succession matters in case of the marital relationship dissolution;
  • It will permit fair treatment and regard for spiritual and popular beliefs in line with Section 15 of the Constitution.
  • It will handle the solemnisation and registration of marital relationships that include foreign nationals;
  • It will handle the solemnisation and registration of popular marital relationships that include non-citizens, particularly cross-border neighborhoods or people of our neighbouring nations.