Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 1998 (Act No. 120 of 1998)

3. Requirements for validity of customary marriages

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1)For a customary marriage entered into after the commencement of this Act to be valid-
a)the prospective spouses-
i)must both be above the age of 18 years; and
ii)must both consent to be married to each other under customary law; and
b)the marriage must be negotiated and entered into or celebrated in accordance with customary law.


2)Save as provided in section 10 (1), no spouse in a customary marriage shall be competent to enter into a marriage under the Marriage Act, 1961 (Act No. 25 of 1961), during the subsistence of such customary marriage.


a)If either of the prospective spouses is a minor, both his or her parents, or if he or she has no parents, his or her legal guardian, must consent to the marriage.
b)If the consent of the parent or legal guardian cannot be obtained, section 25 of the Marriage Act, 1961, applies.


a)Despite subsection (1)(a)(i), the Minister or any officer in the public service authorised in writing thereto by him or her, may grant written permission to a person under the age of 18 years to enter into a customary marriage if the Minister or the said officer considers such marriage desirable and in the interests of the parties in question.
b)Such permission shall not relieve the parties to the proposed marriage from the obligation to comply with all the other requirements prescribed by law.
c)If a person under the age of 18 years has entered into a customary marriage without the written permission of the Minister or the relevant officer, the Minister or the officer may, if he or she considers the marriage to be desirable and in the interests of the parties in question, and if the marriage was in every other respect in accordance with this Act, declare the marriage in writing to be a valid customary marriage.


5)Subject to subsection (4), section 24A of the Marriage Act, 1961, applies to the customary marriage of a minor entered into without the consent of a parent, guardian, commissioner of child welfare or a judge, as the case may be.


6)The prohibition of a customary marriage between persons on account of their relationship by blood or affinity is determined by customary law.