Married in absentia, without his consent

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Sydwell Mfeka, 36, of Diepkloof, Soweto, is an angry man. And the father of a three-year-old boy blames all his marital woes on his fiancée and the Department of Home Affairs.

Mfeka is steadfast that he never signed any document to seal any marriage to Lungile Nkosi, 25.

He admits, though, that he paid lobola for her in 2003.

"This is corruption. How could they marry us when I was not even there?" he lamented.

He told Sowetan that he realised that he was married when he wanted to sell the house that his common-law wife and son are staying in.

Nkosi lives in the Pimville house that Mfeka pays for.

Sowetan has of documents from the department that confirm that Mfeka and a witness were "unavailable" when his marriage was registered.

Mfeka said that Nkosi went with her mother to register the marriage but he does not know how they did it without him present.

But Home Affairs spokesman Mantshele Tau said Mfeka and Nkosi were indeed married.

"Any of the two parties can go and register a marriage as long as they produce proof that they were first married under customary law."

He said paying lobola was not the first step in getting married but it was marriage itself.

"Registering the union at Home Affairs is just a formality but not the only thing to declare a marriage authentic," he said.

The department said the only way out for Mfeka is a divorce because by law the marriage stands.