oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Pluralism or unification in family law in South Africa

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



At this stage a uniform family law for all the people of South Africa does not seem possible because there are deep differences in the legal systems and cultures of the relevant groups of which the following are examples: monogamous versus polygamous marriages; equal status of the spouses versus the inferior position of the wife; maintenance during the marriage and after divorce versus communal care on the ground of membership of the husband's group and no care by the husband's group after termination of membership of this group; dissolution of a marriage through a divorce decree of the court against the informal dissolution of a marriage within the families concerned; division of matrimonial assets upon divorce and taking into account the housewife's contribution in the running of the household against no division of the matrimonial assets. Instead of unification, consideration should be given to the recognition of the different marriages in a single Act for the purpose of giving full recognition to all the types of marriage and treating the different marriages on an equal basis.

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