n Acta Juridica - Twelve years later : how the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 is failing women in South Africa

Volume 2013, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1346
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2088



In this contribution we discuss how the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA) is failing women. We start by discussing the importance of the recognition of customary marriages and the problems associated with their recognition. We then investigate the challenges presented by s 4 of the RCMA, which stipulates that all customary marriages must be registered within a certain time period. We also examine the role of and the requirements for entering a customary marriage, which are unclear under the RCMA. Finally, we show that the legislation does not adequately provide for women in polygynous marriages. This contribution is a determined call to amend the RCMA and to re-open the debate on how best to regulate customary marriages.

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