June 30, 2021: A proposal in South Africa to enable women to have multiple husbands has sparked outrage among the country’s conservatives.
Proposal for multiple husbands in South Africa, green paper based on extensive research
The South African government’s proposal to legalise polyandry, which means women having multiple having husbands, was included in a green paper from South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs in a bid to make the marriage laws in the country more inclusive.
The green paper is based on extensive research and consultation, according to the government, and the process began in 2019. Religious and traditional authorities, as well as human rights campaigners, were consulted.
The right to equality, according to rights activists, requires that polyandry be legally recognised, according to a government document.
Uproar in South Africa over letting women having multiple husbands
However, the proposal that is considering allowing women to have multiple husbands has become controversial.
The government has extended the deadline for public comment on the green paper to June 30. The paper was finished in April and suggestions were accepted in May.
South Africa’s constitution is one of the most liberal in the world, allowing polygamy.
Marriage policy not based on constitution
According to the government document, South African marriage policy is not based on the country’s Constitution. It goes on to say that the law has certain legacy difficulties.
“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.
The resistance, on the other hand, is ferocious. Musa Mseleku, a reality TV personality, is one among the main voices speaking out against the proposal. “Protecting our existence, our spiritual it’s 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 wrote in a Facebook post.