According to Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi payment of the bride price or lobola is no longer needed to solomnise a marriage.

Two people who meet the requirements of law can be considered married even before paying lobola.

The government was concerned by parents who were treating marriage as a commercial event and accused parents of  commodifying the institution of marriage. Some parents go to the extend of withholding consent until the full bride price is settled.

The Marriages Bill was presented in the Senate, after it went through the National assemble last week.

“The transfer of marriage consideration (lobola) in our indigenous culture traditionally solidified bonds between families, but a disturbing trend has developed over time to commoditise or monetise the marriage relationship for material gain.

Some guardians of brides hold out for the highest possible gain for themselves, while others refuse consent to the formalisation of marriage until the last cent of the marriage consideration is paid.

This is why so many of our customary and non-customary marriages are unregistered. To solve this issue, the Bill will no longer require a customary marriage officer to satisfy himself or herself that there has been an agreement on the transfer of marriage consideration,” Ziyambi said

The Minister shot down suggestions that the bill sought to abolish the payment of lobola or to encourage ‘small houses’.

“If the parties do agree on the transfer of such consideration the Registrar (of Marriage) is under obligation to record it when registering the marriage to minimise disputes about the terms of such agreements,” he said.

The Minister said the bill sought to protect children borne out of unregistered marriages and the bill was being introduced in good faith.

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