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File picture: Pexels

Motsoaledi wants MPs to engage on polyandry debate without resorting to ’war of words'

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published May 20, 2021

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Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has entered the fray on the polyandry debate after his department has been criticised by some of the parties in Parliament.

The ACDP said on Wednesday it will engage with the process on the green paper regarding marriage statute in the country.

Al-Jamah slammed polyandry saying it was against the Constitution.

But Motsoaledi on Wednesday said this was the time for all the parties to debate the issue without resorting to a war of words.

He said it was unfortunate that this issue has turned into a spat among some of the stakeholders.

“Honourable House chair, it was with a deep sense of disappointment that the envisaged national dialogues turned into a war of words and cynicism about one and only one of the issues that were raised in the Ministerial dialogues. The issue of polyandry, which like all others which I mentioned above, was raised by some of the participants at the ministerial dialogues,” said Motsoaledi.

He said MPs will have the opportunity to engage with the green paper.

But the fact of the matter was that there has been consultations on marriage statutes in the last two years.

During these processes, a number of stakeholders proposals had been made, he said.

“From the debates I have listened to it became clear to me that many of such commentators did not even bother to read the Green Paper documents that were given to them,” said Motsoaledi.

He said the green paper was clear in its preamble that this was a consultative process and not the final product of government policy.

“Honourable chair, the whole idea of a green paper is a British Westminster concept that we inherited through colonialism. On the other hand, the White Paper is issued by government as a statement of policy and often sets out legislative changes or introduction of the law. The proposals often emerge from the green paper process. In short, green is for consultation and white is for proposals and there should be no confusion about that,” said Motsoaledi.

“I am pleading that the national dialogues be constructive, be responsible and in the true spirit of nation building please let’s lower the excitement and deal with the important issues I mentioned, which our people have experienced as hardships in their endeavour to build viable families,” said Motsoaledi.

He said the public has to make comments on the green paper by the end of June.

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Political Bureau

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