She marries man legally without his consent

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

The woman accused of marrying a Soweto man without his consent says it pleases her because her actions are likely to "open women's eyes".

Her actions, she says, stopped a man on his tracks, who was about to frustrate her and her child by selling their house. She says she sees it as a victory for women.

"Women should be wise. They should be wide awake."

But she also threatened to sue Sowetan if they quoted her.

The woman was responding to allegations by Sidwell Mfeka that she obtained a marriage certificate at the Home Affairs Department without his consent, after she produced a receipt for ilobolo.

Mfeka told Sowetan that he had only paid a deposit towards his iloboloin 2003. The couple have one child and had once lived together.

Lungile Nkosi, 25, yesterday called on women to "be wise and get a wake-up call".

Though Nkosi did not want to comment on Mfeka's allegations, she said what she did was "going to open the eyes of many women who have been oppressed and abused by men for many years".

She went to Home Affairs in August, produced a receipt ofilobolo and walked out with a marriage certificate.

Nkosi had just registered her marriage to Mfeka, 36, when she found out that he was selling the Pimville house that she and their three-year-old son were living in.

Since the discovery of the union, Mfeka has been an unhappy man.

He said he would not file for divorce as he never married anyone.

But the Home Affairs Department has dug its heels and said Nkosi had done nothing wrong.

They said the law was not open to abuse because a spouse would have to produce proof that ilobolo was paid to register a union, even if alone.

Mantshele Tau emphasised that the constitution recognised customary marriage and that when a man paid ilobolo he was married.

"There are no half measures or half steps. Paying lobolo is 100percent marriage and registering it is just to formalise it and to protect spouses from manipulation," he said.

Tau said Mfeka's case was different from the fraudulent marriages that were approved in the department between illegal immigrants and South African women.

Also on Nkosi's side is a pastor who congratulated her, saying she had to protect herself.

Pastor Peter Moagi of the Chief Cornerstone Ministries International Church in Ennerdale, south of Johannesburg, said he would not allow the woman to sign any document in the man's absence, but believed the marriage should stand.

"This is a complex matter, but I would have to counsel the couple and involve the law because this is a legal matter," he said.

Moagi said though the marriage was not blessed in a church, the couple were traditionally married.

But Peter Baker, a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, said the marriage was null and void.

"The man was supposed to give consent before the marriage was registered."

He said it was not unlawful for the woman to go and register the marriage, but what was unusual was that Mfeka did not consent to the marriage.