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New Marriage Policy for South Africa on the Cards

August 28, 2019

Department of Home Affairs

28 August 2019

A new marriage policy for South Africa is on the cards.

The home affairs department has announced that a dialogue on the development of a new marriage policy will take place in Johannesburg on 30 August 2019.

According to the department, the aim of the ministerial dialogue is to “engage with thought-leaders, gender and human rights activists across various sectors and disciplines on how to mainstream equality, human dignity and non-discrimination principles in marriage legislation and practice”.

The plan is for stakeholder consultations to identify key issues to be addressed by the new marriage policy and legislation.

Engagements with traditional leaders, religious leaders, academia, non-profits and government leaders are in the pipeline for the next two months.

“The new marriage policy will inform the drafting of a single marriage Act which will replace the existing Acts. A new single marriage Act will enable South Africans of different sexual orientation, religious and cultural persuasions to conclude legal marriages that will accord with the constitutional principle of equality.”

Three pieces of legislation, namely, the Marriage Act 25 of 1961 (for monogamous marriage for opposite sex couples); Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998 (polygamous marriages for opposite sex couples) and Civil Unions Act 17 of 2006 (monogamous partnerships for both same and opposite sex couples) currently regulate marriage in South Africa.