The United Ulama Council of SA (UUCSA) is of the opinion that the draft Divorce Amendment Bill infringes on Islamic marriage and divorce law.

Sunday Tribune report notes the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice & Correctional Services has invited stakeholders and interested persons to submit written submissions on the Bill, which provides for the inclusion of a Muslim marriage.

The UUCSA’S legal adviser, Ismail Mohammed, said the UUCSA believed these infringements were in violation of the freedom of religious rights of Muslims.

‘The Constitution guarantees every person’s freedom of religion. The Constitutional Court has indicated that this freedom means every person has the right to practise his or her religion without hindrance. The court further said that when a person was forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her religion, then that would be a violation of his or her constitutional rights. The court said that if a person were constrained from acting in accordance with his or her religion, then that would also be a violation of his or her constitutional rights.’

He said Muslims had all their lives married and divorced in accordance with Islamic law or Sharia.

‘The Marriage Bill of 2022 and the Divorce Amendment Bill fall short in meeting Islamic law requirements. They do not permit Muslims to marry or deal with the consequences of divorce in accordance with the tenets of their faith.’

The report notes submissions on the Bill must be made to the committee by 8 September.

Full Sunday Tribune report