Al Jama-ah leader's 'un-African marriage' statement raises heat

WATCH|Mazzone loses her cool over polyandry comments

Watch the video below from 2:36:27

DA member of parliament Natasha Mazzone.
DA member of parliament Natasha Mazzone.
Image: Screengrab

Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendricks' recent comments on the legislation of polyandry in SA has left DA MP Natasha Mazzone fuming. 

This week, MPs discussed the introduction of a new green paper on marriages in parliament. 

The green paper was published by the department of home affairs. One of the proposals in it is the recognition of polyandry.

Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendricks.
Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendricks.
Image: Screengrab

This would allow women to be married to more than one man at the same time. The public has until the end of June to comment.

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,” Hendricks said

An outraged Mazzone responded to Hendricks' comments, saying they were insulting to every woman. 

Mazzone said Hendricks should be investigated by the parliamentary ethics committee.  

“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. 

Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli said parliament would examine Hendricks' comments but also warned Mazzone against her language.

“We will examine that, but I do wish to say to you that even when you are outraged, your language must be careful as well. You need not cross boundaries because you are outraged by what someone said. We will look at what Honourable Hendricks said and we’ll report back to the house,” he told Mazzone. 

Speaking on SAFM, on Wednesday, Hendricks stood by his stance on polyandry, saying it was “un-African”. 

“We need the religious sector to stand firm against introducing this. It is foreign and un-African. I can understand that the ANC Women's League wants 50% of women to be representative, they want a woman president, but I think they are taking it too far to also want African women to be able to take more than one husband,” he said. 

Hendricks said polygamy was allowed by his faith and it was acceptable because it's “African,” unlike polyandry. It was “taboo” and “immoral” for women to have more than one husband, he added. 

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