Legislating Religious Freedom in South Africa

Contributing Authors: Waheeda Amien & Dhammamegha Annie Leatt

Synopsis: This module contains a case study by Waheeda Amien and Dhammamegha Annie Leatt on the recognition of Muslim marriages in postapartheid South Africa.

Summary: The case study by Waheeda Amien and Annie Leatt (Dhammamegha) on the recognition of Mu slim marriages in postapartheid South Africa reveals another important dimension of the global complexity of religious  liberty. As discussed above, since 1996 South Africa has embarked on an ambitious program to institute the right to religious freedom that combines both individualist and collective conceptions. Given the diversity of South Africa, this is a challenging project, one that puts to test the easy assumption often made in the scholarship on religious freedom that group rights are necessarily antithetical to conceptions of justice and democracy.

Case materials

The text of the 2003 South African Law Reform Commission Bill on Muslim Marriages from the SALRC Report – Project 59 on Islamic Marriages and Related Marriages.

The 2010 updated and revised version of the Muslim Marriages Bill recommended by the South African Law Reform Commission and adapted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

The text of the 2005 Draft Bill as proposed by the Commission on Gender Equality Bill on Recognition of Religious Marriages

A detailed report by Rashida Manjoo on the implications of bills submitted by the South African Law Reform Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality. This resource, with its enumeration of the components of the bills and analysis of the language used by the commissions will be of particular aid to teachers.