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Mjolo is dribbling Mzansi – Census 2022

Fear of loss of assets, abuse and femicide a turn-off

The number of people whonhave never been married has increased.
The number of people whonhave never been married has increased.
Image: 123RF

As far as relationships go ,we’ve all heard terms such as mjolo the pandemic, umjolo uzok’khathaza or tlogela banyana/bashimane on social media and even in songs. As much as these phrases are often said as jokes, the recent Census 2022 report shows how South Africans shy away from love and marriage.

According to the statistics, the percentage in the number of people who have never been married has increased from 54% in 2011 to 64.2% in 2022, while couples who legally get married have decreased from 29.9% to 24% during the same period.

There is also a decrease in people who are living tgether like husband and wife/partners, down from 9.2% in 2011 to 7.8% in 2022.

Relationship expert and author Linda Yende said the main reason behind the decline in people wanting to get married is because times have changed.

“A lot of people backthen used to get married for financial reasons. Women would want marriage so they could have someone who would look after them.

“Now, as the times have changed, more people are getting married because they want to and not because they must. Most women can take care of themselves financially; therefore marriage has become a choice, and they consider if they really love the person or not,” Yende said.

Legal practitioner Tina Hokwana said another reason was because of the legalities around divorce.

“When it comes to marriage, there are two options, marrying in community of property and marrying outside of community of property. Getting married in community of property means that whatever debts you had before the marriage and whoever’s debts and assets are accumulated during the marriage is referred to as a joint estate and should the marriage result in a divorce, both parties are entitled to 50%of the estate,” she said.

“Marrying out of community of property basically means that the parties have separate estates. If you get married with accrual and the marriage results in a divorce, and if my partner’s estate is bigger than mine, then I will have a share of that estate.

“All customary marriages are considered to be in community of property. So, when some people go for marriage counselling, none of these options sound appealing and may result in them not wanting to get married,”

A popular trend reflected in the statistics is how modern-day couples would rather live together as partners than officially get married.

Relationship coach and pastor Tshego Moholo, 36, says the statistics reflect the realities she faces as both a relationship coach and pastor.

“Young people base the concept of marriage on what they see on social media. They portray it as marriage, and secondly the fear of what they have seen happening in marriages and what their loved ones have been going through.

“Fear of abuse, femicide, fear of the loss of assets. People are opting to rather date than commit,”Moholo said.

“Living together and sharing expenses is ideal for most people but sometimes people have a fear of what getting divorced would do to their assets.”

However Kundi Ramashia-Dube, 37, partner and family law specialist at Tshabuse Ramashia-Dube Inc, believes the law protects those who are married .

“The law is helpful for those electing to enter the institution of marriage, as at dissolution o fthe marriage [by death or divorce] the couple’s assets will be distributed according to the marital regime which they elected to enter – either in community of property, out of community of property, or out of community of property with no accrual. Unmarried couples are not afforded the same safeguards upon dissolution of the relationship.”

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