File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament passes Customary Marriages Amendment Bill; next step approval by Ramaphosa

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 2, 2021

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Cape Town – The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill, which will now be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.

The passing of the bill comes after the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed the bill with amendments and returned it to the National Assembly for concurrence.

“The National Assembly agreed with these amendments at its plenary sitting today,” parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

The bill amends the 1998 Recognition of Customary Marriages Act by regulating proprietary consequences of customary marriages entered into before commencement of the act.

It also sought to bring provisions of the 1998 Act in line with Constitutional Court judgments.

“These judgments found s7(1) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act to be inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid, because the provision limited the right to human dignity and discriminated unfairly on the basis of gender and race, ethnic or social origin against women,” Mothapo said.

He also said the NCOP agreed to the Electoral Laws Amendment Bill with amendments. The bill will now be sent back to the National Assembly for further consideration.

The bill seeks to amend three existing elections-relates laws in preparation for forthcoming local government elections.

It provided for the procedure to affirm the right of voters while the electoral body complied with the Constitutional Court judgment on addresses of voters.

South Africa has about 24.6 million voters on the voters roll with complete addresses.

The bill also made provision for the electoral officer to redact information in the voters roll when candidates or parties pay a prescribed fee for copies of the voters roll.

Parties could make electronic submission of candidate lists and submit acceptance of nomination when it was required within a stipulated time.

Meanwhile, the NCOP adopted the report of the select committee on health and social services to restart from scratch the process of appointing the board of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).

A similar decision was taken by the National Assembly when it adopted the report from the portfolio committee on women, youth and persons with disabilities.

The committees were tasked last year to facilitate the process for appointing people to serve on the NYDA board. Seven candidates were recommended by the committees

Mothapo said the nomination process came under criticism with claims that the list of recommended candidates for appointment was not inclusive and representative of the country’s demographics.

“Following advice and legal opinion received from the National Assembly Speaker’s office on how to proceed, the two committees resolved to recommend that the process of appointing the NYDA board be restarted from scratch,” he said.

Political Bureau

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