The Marriage Act, 1961 (Act No. 25 of 1961) is an act passed by the Parliament of South Africa representing the solemnisation and enlistment of relational unions in South Africa. It doesn't govern the divorce of couples, which in turn is administered by the Divorce Act, 1979, or with marital property administrations and the budgetary results of marriage, which are represented by the Matrimonial Property Act, 1984.
However, The Marriage Act is not by any means the only law under which a marriage may be performed. The Customary Marriages Act, 1998 perceives marriages under African standard law as legitimate marriages; however they are not lawfully same as marriages under the Marriage Act.
Before 1961, the law of marriage in South Africa depended on the law of the four colonies that were present in the Union of South Africa, and in this manner differed between the areas. The Marriage Act was instituted to combine the law and make it uniform the nation over. The demonstration has been corrected a few times subsequent to 1961, most strikingly in 1970 when banns of marriage were nullified.
It has following major condition and requirements:
- A marriage may be performed just by a marriage officer. All judges and judges of the peace are by default recognised as the marriage officers. The Minister of Home Affairs (or an authority approved to follow up on behalf of the Ministry) can delegate other common administration workers as marriage officers. Hence, numerous representatives in nearby workplaces of the Department of Home Affairs are selected as marriage officers. The Minister of Home Affairs can likewise delegate priests of religion or different religious pioneers as marriage officers.
- Every couple going for the marriage must furnish the marriage officer with his or her South African citizenship proof or an oath enumerating his or her identity. Since 1970, it has not been important to publish banns or acquire a permit; however anybody questioning a marriage may present a complaint in writing with the marriage officer. On the off chance that there is a protest, the officer must consider it and choose whether or not the marriage would be legitimate.
- A marriage may be performed whenever, yet a marriage officer may decline to perform the procedure before eight in the morning or after four in the evening. Marriages might just be performed in religious structures, government workplaces, or private homes; in all cases the entryways of the building must be open. Different areas may be utilized if one of the people is sick or harmed. Also, two witnesses are required to be present at the ceremony and proxy is not permitted.
- A child below the age of 18 is not eligible for marriage until and unless his/her parents grant permission for the same. In case parents are not present then the magistrate can give consent or decline the same based on his wish. In case the parents do not approve of marriage then the marriage permission may be granted by the High Court if it feels is in interest of minors.
Further to this if any marriage officer performs a marriage which is illegal or any person who himself is not a marriage officer but performs the marriage can be jailed for a year or can be fined for the same.