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Sexist SA Government Says No To Multiple Husbands

Sexist SA Government Says No To Multiple Husbands

In May of 2021, the Department of Home Affairs considered legalising polyandry, which meant that women would be allowed to have more than one husband. According to East Coast Radio, the White Paper on Marriages in South Africa however concluded on Wednesday 3 August 2022 that the law should not be amended to allow polyandry.

In a heated parliamentary debate in 2021, Ganief Hendricks, a member of Al Jama-ah, a political party that supports Muslim interests, vehemently opposed the proposed legislation that would allow women to take on multiple husbands.

“We don’t know what to do with women we cannot control”

At the time, Home Affairs introduced a Green Paper (a government discussion paper) that would make polyandry legal in South Africa.

“You can imagine when a child is born, more DNA tests will be needed to discover who the father is. That backlog is going to grow! The problem is only going to get worse,” said Hendricks.

The Department of Home Affairs concluded via the White Paper on Marriages in South Africa that polyandry should not be allowed.

“Although the inclusion of polyandrous marriages would promote the principles of equality, protection of women’s rights and gender emancipation, polyandry doesn’t seem to be practised widely enough to warrant recognition at this stage of development of the country’s constitutional democracy,” read the document.

The government further highlighted that polyandry would “negatively affect the family structure” and there would be difficulties in proving the paternity of children who are born out of a polyandrous relationship.

Meanwhile, polygamy is a practice that is alive and well in South Africa. Businessman and reality television star Musa Mseleku has four wives and gives South Africans a glimpse of his daily life on Uthando Nesthembu.

In December 2021, Mseleku gave his view about polyandry saying it was a “direct attack on the institution of marriage as a whole. I stand by that.”

“Imagine one woman having – like in my case – four husbands. Each husband will want his own children who will bear the surname of that particular husband to grow his family.”

Professor Collis Machoko, a professor at Huntington University, a Christian university in Indiana, United States, told the BBC in 2021 that African societies were “not ready” for true equality.





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