Home Affairs discrimination against women disturbing

2019-07-29 15:58
A copy of a marriage registration from.

A copy of a marriage registration from.

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As a marriage officer since 2005 and having performed and registered countless weddings under the Marriage Act of 1961 as well as marriages under the Civil Unions Act of 2006, I find the story as detailed by Sarah Wild to be quite disturbing. 

It is disturbing because the law is extremely clear regarding the surname to be assumed by the bride in a wedding registered under the Marriage Act of 1961. The choice of surname is actually regulated by section 26(1) of the Births and Registration Act, as amended, 1992. The bride has the right to decide under what surname she will be recorded as on the population register after marriage. In fact, the act provides for her to change her surname at any stage in the future should she so wish to. Her choices regarding a surname are: 

Her maiden surname;

Her husband's surname;

A combination of maiden and husband's surname;

And also a previously married surname.

The attached image is directly from the part of a marriage register issued by Home Affairs where the bride needs to indicate her choice. Home Affairs are then obliged to capture the details accordingly.

Interestingly, the Marriage Act does not provide any regulations for the groom to change his surname to that of the bride. The Civil Unions Act does provide for both parties getting married to change their surnames however, and the act covers both same sex as well as heterosexual couples to marry under the act.

If Home Affairs has not recorded your surname correctly, first check that you marriage officer correctly entered your name on the register as you requested. If so, then take a copy of the register to Home Affairs and request that they change it accordingly. You DO NOT need your husband's permission to do so, it's your decision, always.

Should you at any stage in the future want to change your surname back to your maiden surname or assume your husband's surname for whatever reason, then that can be achieved by completing a form at Home Affairs, also without anyone's permission.

Stand your ground, the law is clear on your rights regarding this and Home Affairs officials are obliged to act within the law.

- Dion Goldie is a registered marriage officer for both heterosexual weddings under the Marriage Act, as well as weddings/civil unions under the Civil Unions act. He is based in the Western Cape and does weddings all over South Africa and abroad.

A copy of a marriage registration from.

Read more on:    department of home affairs  |  marriage
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