Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill: discussion

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Justice and Correctional Services

27 October 1998
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Meeting report

 

JUSTICE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
28 October 1998
RECOGNITION OF CUSTOMARY MARRIAGES BILL: DISCUSSION

Documents handed out:
Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill
Second draft of the Prevention of Organised Crime Bill
Amendments to the Second draft of the Prevention of Organised Crime Bill

SUMMARY
The Committee briefly discussed the Prevention of Organized Crime Bill. Most of the discussion focused on the Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill.

MINUTES
The Committee reviewed the Recognition of Customary Marriages Bill from the long title through clause 5. The Committee reviewed the definitions section of the Bill and approved it. Chairperson De Lange expressed some reservation about the definition of customary marriage, but he said he would wait to see how the definition affects the Bill before he fully expressed his misgivings.

Chairperson De Lange also mentioned that the Bill may potentially be discriminatory against non-traditional marriages. He explained that a traditional marriage allows a man to have several wives. In the unfortunate case that a man with more than one wife suddenly finds himself widowed by all of his wives, he would be able to collect their pensions. A man in a civil marriage is unable to marry more than one wife and is foreclosed from a similar "windfall".
Mr D Gibson (DP) also expressed concern about such a situation. The Committee did not come to a resolution on this issue.

The Committee had a small debate about clause 5 (1) and (2). The Committee agreed that subsections (1) and (2) were poorly written and confusing. Chairperson De Lange asked the Department’s representatives to amend the entire clause. Essentially, the new subsection (2) will be subject to the inapplicability of the new clause (1). Currently, subsection (2) can be read in conjunction with subsection (1).

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