The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has welcomed the mission of the Supreme Court of Western Cape that the state must introduce legislation to recognize Muslim marriages as valid and to regulate the consequences of these unions.
The application for recognition of Islamic marriages was filed by the Legal Center for Women, which said it was aimed at providing legal protection to Muslim women and their children in divorce.
"We are encouraged by the court's decision to force the government to take steps to ensure that the rights of women in Islamic marriages are realized.
"We are celebrating this victory and hope that the state will take steps to meet the CGE's judgment for women in Islamic marriages," the CGE said in a statement on Saturday.
Judge Siraj Desai ruled Friday that the president and the cabinet had not fulfilled their respective constitutional obligations and that such behavior was invalid.
The CGE, represented by the Legal Resources Center as Amicus Curiae (friend of the Court), said they welcomed the verdict.
"Our intervention was to support the cause because we are convinced that Muslim women have suffered and continue to suffer serious disadvantages in marriages as a result of doing nothing to the state," CGE said.
Desai directed that the President and the Cabinet together with the Parliament "rectify the failure within 24 months of the date of this order as intended".
The case was heard by Judges Desai, Gayaat Salie-Hlophe and Nolwazi Boqwana.
Desai said that if the legislation is not adopted within the next two years, it is declared that a union, validly concluded as a marriage in Sharia law and that continues to exist at the time the order comes into effect, can be dissolved in accordance with the divorce law and that all provisions of that law apply.
The court has also made provisions for the dissolution of polygamous marriages in an Islamic marriage.
The Association for the Protection of our Constitution, however, challenged the decision of the court on Saturday and claimed that it was arbitrary, irrational and "absurd".
The society said that the judgment had worsened the position of Muslim women, and that the Sharia law did not constitute the concept of marriage as a union between two people. recognized, but rather the concept of a & nikaah & # 39 ;.
"Shariah recognizes a nikaah – which is a union between man and woman.) A nikaah is ended by the statement of a talaq communicated by the male to the female." There is no provision in sharia for dissolution of a nikaah by a woman. in a nikaah the nikaah can not be ended.
"The Divorce Act 70 of 1979 only orders the court to dissolve a marriage by means of a divorce certificate There is no provision in the divorce decree to dissolve a union without giving a divorce decree or issuing a divorce order. according to the divorce law to dissolve a nikaah that has been terminated by talaq, "the company said in a statement.
Prior to the verdict of the verdict, Muslim women obtained provisional provisions that enabled them to obtain an order for interim maintenance and detention of their children, according to the company.
The order closes the doors for Muslim women to get provisional help because a court can only terminate a nikaah that according to the society has ended in terms of Sharia.
The society also had a problem with the time limit to execute the command, claiming that it could not be done in a & # 39; mere & # 39; 24 months & # 39 ;, when the courts could not do that themselves in more than ten years & # 39 ;.
It would also require South African law to recognize the basic principles of Sharia law nikaah because the law is not yet enshrined in South African legislation, the statement added.