The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) notes and welcomes the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, 2023, in particular the amendments it proposes to the Intestate Succession Act, 1987, “to extend the meaning of ‘spouse’”, and the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act, 1990, ‘to insert more definitions’”.
These legislative amendments seek to provide clarity and offer additional protections to persons married in terms of religious marriages. This is in addition to the Registration of Muslim Marriages Bill, which was introduced in November 2022, “To regulate the recognition, requirements, solemnisation, registration, proprietary and other consequences, dissolution and consequences of dissolution of Muslim marriages; and to provide for matters connected therewith.”
However, although we welcome the progress being made with regards to Muslim Marriages, we are concerned that the parties to Hindu Marriages are often subjected to much the same legal challenges, while not much is being done to champion their rights.
According to our Constitution, “Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law” and “The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including … marital status… religion…belief, culture”.
As the IFP, we therefore extend a plea that similar time and attention be devoted to ensuring that Hindu Marriages, as far as reasonably practicable, enjoy the same rights and legal security as civil marriages, customary marriages, and civil unions.
Hon. Narend Singh MP
IFP Chief Whip in Parliament
083 788 5954