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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Discussion paper project 138: The practice of ukuthwala

Type :
Research reports & papers
Author :
The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC)
Published :
Link :

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development followed an outcry by requesting the SALRC to include in its programme an investigation into the practice of ukuthwala. The SALRC carried the mandate by developing a discussion paper on the practice of ukuthwala with the aim of developing customary law to promote the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights as provided for in section 39 of the Constitution. The purpose of the paper is to: review the legislative framework currently regulating customary marriages; and, where necessary, to identify alternative policy and legislative measures for improving the extent to which that framework reflects South Africa's international human rights obligations. Ukuthwala usually involves the union of a young girl with a much older man. Comment is sought by 31 October 2014.