Home  »  Articles   »   Parliament Passes Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill

Articles
Parliament Passes Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill

March 4, 2021

Parliament

Parliament has passed the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill and sent it to president Ramaphosa for assent.

The bill was tabled in parliament at the beginning of September 2019.

In November 2019, the bill was sent to the National House of Traditional Leaders for comment.

The national assembly (NA) passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces (NCOP) for concurrence in June 2020.

Cabinet approved the proposed legislation at the end of July 2019 for tabling.

In an earlier statement acknowledging the approval, the justice and constitutional development department pointed out that the draft bill brings section 7(1) and (2) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 in line with a 2017 Constitutional Court judgment which declared the provisions constitutionally invalid.

The sections discriminate unfairly against women in customary marriages.

The department called for comment on the draft bill in April 2018.

The bill aims to amend the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 by further regulating the proprietary consequences of customary marriages entered into before the commencement of the act so as to bring the provisions in this regard in line with judgments of the Constitutional Court which the Court found to be constitutionally invalid because they discriminate unfairly against certain women in customary marriages and to provide for matters connected therewith.

It flows from a Constitutional Court confirmation that a Limpopo High Court order declaring section 7(1) of the act to be constitutionally invalid was the correct decision.

The High Court had ruled that section 7(1) discriminated against women in polygamous customary marriages entered into before the commencement of the act.

The bill aims to:

• amend the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998, so as to further regulate the proprietary consequences of customary marriages entered into before the commencement of the said Act; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The select committee on security and justice introduced amendments to the bill including a new definition on “traditional leader” and returned it to the NA for concurrence in December 2020.

‘‘’Traditional leader’ means any person who, in terms of customary law of the traditional community concerned, holds a traditional leadership position and is recognised in terms of the applicable legislation providing for such recognition.’’

The NA agreed with the amendments at its plenary sitting yesterday.

Meanwhile, in Government Gazette 44190, the Legal Practice Council called for comment on proposed amendments to the Rules of Council.

A new Schedule 8 is proposed.

Comment is invited within 30 days of the date of publication.

In Notice 136, the department announced the appointment of Adv Lebogang Baloyi as a Special Director of Public Prosecutions in the Special Commercial Crime Unit from 1 February 2021 and Adv Bonnie Edwina Currie-Gamwo as a Special Director of Public Prosecutions in the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit from 1 February 2021.