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File Picture.

Al-Jama-ah calls for registration of Muslim marriages

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Oct 12, 2021

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Cape Town - IF Al-Jama-ah has its way, there should be interim registration of Muslim marriages.

The party has now submitted a private member’s bill through its leader Ganief Hendricks, saying the failure to recognise Muslim marriages was an indignity to their faith.

This was revealed when Parliament published a notice inviting members of the public to make written comments on a draft bill by November 7.

The bill comes while the South African Law Reform Commission and Home Affairs Department are still investigating the possible adoption of a single marriage statute.

It also happens against the backdrop of Hendricks, a sole MP for the party, fielding parliamentary questions to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, since he became a public representative in the national legislature.

Motsoaledi has previously acknowledged the shortcomings in the marriage legislation to Muslim marriages, Hindu marriages and marriages conducted according to Jewish rites.

In the explanatory summary of the proposed bill, Hendricks said the state failed to enact any legislation recognising and regulating any aspect in relation to Muslim marriages.

“The failure to recognise and regulate valid Muslim marriages has created a great deal of legal uncertainty resulting in an inability even on the part of legal practitioners to advise their Muslim clients with any reasonable degree of certainty what their rights and obligations are or what remedies are available to them in the circumstances,” he said.

Hendricks charged that the situation caused many Muslim women and men to not pursue any legal action to enforce their rights.

He also said the failure to recognise Muslim marriages was an indignity by the state to the entire Muslim faith.

“The failure to regulate and provide for the registration of Muslim marriages undermines and insults the very foundations on which Islam is built.

“The failure to recognise the existence of a Muslim marriage is tantamount to not recognising the existence of Muslim people, their religion, customs, traditions and culture,” he said.

Hendricks also said the continuous gross human rights violations by the state were significant.

“There are no mechanisms to safeguard the welfare of minor or dependent children of Muslim marriages at the time of the now informal dissolution of these marriages.”

Political Bureau

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