Check your marital status

2004-08-04 10:27

Pretoria - South African women were urged on Tuesday to check that their marital status was reflected correctly on the records of the home affairs department.

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula launched a special "Check Your Status" campaign in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga, partly in a bid to curb the problem of women being married to foreigners without their knowledge.

Some of this was probably the work of the department's own officials, and efforts were being intensified to bring these to book, the minister said in a prepared speech.

"However, it might be that some of these cases involve our own citizens, women who get offered money to break the law by entering into a marriage of convenience, thereby allowing foreign criminals that status and right to enter our country illegally."

Citizens who found themselves the victims of fraudulent marriages without their knowledge would be assisted by the department to expunge those unions free-of-charge, the minister said.

She also urged women married under customary law to ensure their unions were registered on the department's database.

Even women wed in civil ceremonies needed to make sure that their marriages were registered, Mapisa-Nqakula said.