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Interim Registration of Muslim Marriages Bill on the Cards

October 13, 2021

Parliament

A draft bill designed to provide for the registration of Muslim marriages, in the interim, as valid marriages in South Africa is in the pipeline.

The Draft Interim Registration of Muslim Marriages Bill was published for comment in Government Gazette 45275.

The draft private member’s bill was drawn up by Mogamad Ganief Ebrahim Hendricks, an Al Jama -ah member of parliament.

The draft bill aims to, inter alia, provide for the following:

• the registration of Muslim marriages, in the interim, as valid marriages for all purposes in the Republic of South Africa;
• regulating some of the consequences arising from the recognition of Muslim marriages;
• acknowledging the application of other existing domestic legislation to Muslim marriages in specified circumstances;
• interim processes and procedures to be determined by the relevant Minister by promulgating relevant regulations from time to time to be complied with in order to register the conclusion and dissolution of Muslim marriages with the Department of Home Affairs;
• the requirements of a valid Muslim marriage;
• regulating some of the proprietary consequences of Muslim marriages by providing that all Muslim marriages concluded after the commencement of this draft Bill, shall be out of community of property without the operation of the accrual system as the default position, unless the parties agree otherwise;
• the status and legal capacity of spouses in a Muslim marriage by providing that spouses in a Muslim marriage are equal, each with full legal capacity and unhindered status; and
• regulating certain aspects of the dissolution of Muslim marriages in accordance with Islamic rulings.

According to the explanatory summary, the South African state has failed to enact any legislation recognising and regulating any aspect in relation to Muslim marriages.

The draft bill is an “interim and minimalist Bill designed to provide for the registration of valid Muslim marriages and to regulate some ancillary aspects associated with the registration of these marriages”.

“The draft Bill will lapse upon a far more comprehensive Act coming into operation and that will be accompanied with relevant regulations to be promulgated by both the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Minister of Home Affairs.”

Comment on the proposed content of the draft bill is invited within 30 calendar days of the date of publication.