- Marriage in South Africa
Marriage in South Africa exists in a number of different forms, as a result of the diversity of religions and cultures in the country. Historically the legal definition of marriage, derived from the Roman-Dutch law, was limited to monogamous marriages between opposite-sex couples. Since 1998 the law has recognised marriages, including polygynous marriages, conducted under African customary law, and in 2006 South Africa became the fifth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.
The laws under which a marriage may be contracted in South Africa are:
- The Marriage Act, 1961, which allows for the solemnisation of a civil or religious marriage between a man and a woman.
- The Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998, which allows for the registration of marriages under African customary law. Some communities' customary law allows for polygynous marriages, and these are recognised subject to certain conditions.
- The Civil Union Act, 2006, which allows for the union of two people of the same sex or of opposite sexes; the partners can choose whether their union is to be described as a marriage or as a civil partnership. The legal consequences of a marriage under the Civil Union Act are the same as those of a marriage under the Marriage Act.
A person may only be married under one of these laws at a time, except that a couple in a monogamous customary marriage can contract a marriage with each other under the Marriage Act.
Marriages under the Marriage Act and the Civil Union Act must be solemnized by a marriage officer and in the presence of two witnesses. Magistrates are ex officio marriage officers, and civil servants (in practise usually officials of the Department of Home Affairs) may be designated as marriage officers by the Minister of Home Affairs. The Minister may also designate ministers of religion as marriage officers; they cannot solemnize marriages under the Civil Union Act unless their denomination has applied to the Minister to be registered to do so.
Married in a civil or religious ceremony 7,721,159 23.5% Monogamously married under customary law 2,977,764 9.1% Polygamously married 23,695 0.1% Living together as if married 2,493,094 7.6% Never married 16,803,267 51.1% Widowed 2,020,677 6.1% Separated 306,930 0.9% Divorced 546,597 1.7%
In 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Department of Home Affairs registered 171,989 marriages under the Marriage Act, of which 81,650 were solemnised by a minister of religion and 90,229 were solemnised by a government officer. 13,506 customary marriages were registered under the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, and 760 marriages or civil partnerships were registered under the Civil Union Act. In the same year 30,763 divorces were recorded.
- Polygamy in South Africa
- Same-sex marriage in South Africa
Texts on Wikisource:
- ^ Minister of Home Affairs and Another v Fourie and Another  ZACC 19 at para. 3, 2006 (3) BCLR 355 (CC); 2006 (1) SA 524 (CC) (1 December 2005)
- ^ Pierre de Vos (11 December 2006). "Customary Marriages unconstitutional?". Constitutionally Speaking. http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/customary-marriages-unconstitutional/. Retrieved 27 February 2007.
- ^ "SA same-sex marriage law signed". BBC News. 30 November 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6159991.stm. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- ^ Marriage Act, No. 25 of 1961, as amended
- ^ Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, No. 120 of 1998, as amended
- ^ Civil Union Act, 2006
- ^ "Community Survey 2007 by province, marital status, population group and gender amongst those aged 15 years and older". Statistics South Africa. http://www.statssa.gov.za/timeseriesdata/pxweb2006/Dialog/varval.asp?ma=Maritalstatus_gender_age_popgrp&ti=Community+Survey+2007+by+province%2C+marital+status%2C+population+group+and+gender+amongst++++those+aged+15+years+and+older&path=../Database/South%20Africa/Community%20Survey%202007/Persons/Province/&lang=1. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- ^ "Statistical release P0307: Marriages and divorces, 2009". Statistics South Africa. 8 December 2010. http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0307/P03072009.pdf. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
Marriage in Africa Sovereign
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Republic of the Congo
- Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Equatorial Guinea
- The Gambia
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
States with limited
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
- Canary Islands / Ceuta / Melilla / Plazas de soberanía (Spain)
- Madeira (Portugal)
- Mayotte / Réunion (France)
- Saint Helena / Ascension Island / Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom)
- Western Sahara
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