ConCourt to rule on customary marriage

2013-05-29 21:59
The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

The Constitutional Court (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court will rule on Thursday on whether a first wife in a customary marriage needs to give consent for a second marriage to be valid.

The case was brought by a woman who is challenging the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) overturning of a High Court in Pretoria ruling that the second marriage was invalid.

The woman, who was not named, submitted that she and her husband married under customary law in 1984, but their marriage was not registered.

After his death, she was told he had entered into another customary marriage which was registered under the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act.

The woman wanted the court to find this second marriage invalid because she had not given consent.

She contended that this infringed on her rights to dignity, physical and emotional integrity, and to be treated on an equal footing with her husband.

The second wife, who is asking the court to uphold the SCA ruling, submitted it was inappropriate to determine the issue without proper evidence on the applicable customary law.

The Rural Women's Movement, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and the Women's Legal Centre Trust have been admitted as friends of the court.

The Rural Women's Movement and CGE submitted that there was insufficient evidence to make a finding on whether customary law required consent.

The trust submitted that non-registration should not invalidate a subsequent marriage.

Read more on:    legislation  |  gender equality

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