The South African government has introduced a new green paper on marriages that allows polyandry in the country.
Polyandry is an arrangement when one woman is allowed to marry more than one husband.
This week, MPs started deliberations on the new paper on marriage.
The green paper was published by the department of home affairs. One of the proposals in it is the recognition of polyandry, a local news portal reported.
Even though the public has until the end of June to comment, the proposal has triggered heated debate on the part of MPs.
Leader of the Al Jama-ah party (one of the small parties) Ganief Hendricks expressed worry and disgust at the bill.
During a plenary hybrid sitting of parliament on Tuesday, Hendricks said he was concerned by the polyandrous marriage proposal in the green paper.
“I am very concerned by the provision in the green paper of the Marriage Act where women are allowed to take more than one husband. You can imagine when a child is born, more DNA tests will be needed to discover who the father is. The problem is only going to get worse,” he said.
The comments however outraged an MP for the main opposition Democratic Alliance, DA, party; MP Natasha Mazzone fumed at the views expressed by her colleague.
“I would like you to refer to what the last speaker, who I will not refer to as honourable, has just said. He was insulting to every woman in this country regarding the rights of women to have multiple husbands and the rights of men to have multiple wives,” said Mazzone.
“In this day and age, in the year 2021, to think that a public representative of this country would dare stand up in the parliament of SA and say something like that is an absolute disgrace. I want it referred to the ethics committee and may I say that the only woman in this country who would possibly feel that way is his wife,” she added.