The marriage bill will criminalize the marriage of minors

The marriage bill will criminalize the marriage of minors

But if the bill is approved, it would be a criminal offense for any person under the age of 18 to marry or for any guardian or parent to give their consent to the marriage of a minor.

In 2021, 207 minors were given consent to contract marriages, the majority of which were customary.

According to Stats SA’s 2021 Marriage and Divorce Statistics, released earlier this year, 37 minors have entered into a civil marriage. Five of them were boys and 32 were girls. Thirty of these brides were getting married for the first time.

There are 170 older minors – 156 girls and 14 boys – entered into common-law marriage in 2021,.

University of KwaZulu-Natal cultural expert Dr. Gogo Mazebuku said there are several reasons for parents to agree to marriage, for example to alleviate poverty or for religious purposes.

‚ÄúPoverty is one of the main reasons why younger girls marry off, and there are too many unemployed young men. If you find someone who takes care of you financially, is well off and gives you a hand in marriage, it becomes very common for young girls to get married in this the age”.

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