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Forms  of  marriage  In  South  Africa Forms of marriage In South Africa

Bronze medal Reporter Adv. Thomson Posted 12 Jan 2019 Read More News and Blogs
Forms  of  marriage  In  South  Africa

South African Law provides three forms of marriage as Civil Marriage, Customary Marriage and Civil Union  or religious marriage. Each has specific fuctionality and routine in order to be valid and binding.


Civil Marriage


Civil Marriage is usually seen as the traditional form of marriage and is still the usual type of marriage. The requirements and procedure for a Civil Marriage are:

·Both parties must give valid consent;

·Both parties must be 18 years or older;

If younger than 18 years old, the parents or legal guardian must give consent or an application to the Herigh Court must be made. The marriage ceremony is conducted by a marriage officer in accordance to Marriages Act. The marriage officer and two witnesses must sign the marriage register. After that the marriage officer will provide marriage certificate. The signed register and certificate must be lodged at the Department of Home Affairs, so the details of the marriage can be recorded.


Customary Marriage


 The Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998, gives recognition to customary marriages which are concluded in terms of the customs and traditions observed among the indigenous people of South Africa. The legal requirements for a customary marriage are that the prospective spouses must both be above the age of 18 years, must both consent to be married to each other under customary law and the marriage must be negotiated and celebrated in accordance with customary law.

Customary Marriages must be registered at the Department of Home Affairs. The couple, along with representatives from each family, needs to take their valid ID booksand their Lobola agreement (if available) to the Department of Home Affairs. If there is no Department of Home Affairs in the region, the registration can take place through a Traditional Leader.


Civil Union


A Civil Union is a marriage between two people of the same gender. The requirements for a Civil Union are;

·Both parties must be 18 years or older;

·Both parties must validly consent;

Neither party may be already married in terms of any other law then the  marriage is performed by an authorised marriage officer. The marriage must be registered at the Department of Home Affairs and in order to register the marriage the following is needed

  1. Valid South African ID books
  2. A completed Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage form


Religious marriage


It is a marriage entered into in terms of a religion such as the Islamic and Hindu faith. There is no automatic legal recognition of Hindu marriages in terms of The Marriages Act. Instead, a marriage by Hindu rites is governed by the tenets of the Hindu faith and not by civil law. If the parties are married by Hindu rites, but no civil marriage is registered, then they are not married in the eyes of South African law.Similarly, parties married by Islamic or Muslim rites are regarded as unmarried.


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