Pretoria: South Africa’s (SA) government’s decision, that is likely to be made into law soon, to allow women to have multiple husbands — has sparked widespread debate in the country.
South Africa already has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world, allowing same-sex marriage and polygamy for men. Gender rights activists are calling on the government to legalize polyandrous marriages (women with more than one husband) for the sake of equality and choice.
The proposal for polyandry is one among many included in the green paper (the process of making a law sometimes begins with a discussion document) published by the department of home affairs.
The SA government has invited comments on the green paper until June 30. The paper was prepared in April and opened for suggestions in May.
The document also proposes granting legal recognition to the marriages of Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Rastafarians.
According to a CNN report, the document points that the current law allows the marriage of minors and does not take into account couples who change their sex and want to remain married without going through a divorce, among other shortcomings.
“The purpose of the marriage policy is to establish a policy foundation for regulating the marriages of all persons that reside in SA. The envisaged marriage statute will enable South Africans and residents of all sexual orientations, religious and cultural persuasions to conclude legal marriages that will accord with the principles of equality, non-discrimination, human dignity and unity in diversity, as encapsulated in the Constitution,” the document said.
To strengthen the marriage policy, consultation were conducted with religious and traditional leaders as well as human rights activists and the green paper is based on extensive research and consultation, and the process began in 2019.
Prominent businessman and TV personality Musa Mseleku – who has four wives – opposes the proposal.
“Protecting our existence, our spiritual its important for both the current generation and future generations. Let us defend our culture, tradition and customs by participating in this process. Let us object to Polyandry outright,” he said in a YouTube video.
“You can imagine when a child is born, more DNA tests will be needed to discover who the father is,” according to the media reports, the leader of the Islamic Al-Jamah party, Ganief Hendricks said.