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Chapter 5:11

Marriage Act

Acts 81/1964, 6/1967 (s. 15), 35/1967.(s. 32), 20/1968, 42/1971 (s. 5), 37/1972, 21/1973 (s. 66), 41/1978 (s. 4), 17/1979 (s. 7), 29/1981 (s. 59), 15/l982 (s. 3), 18/1989.(s. 37), 22/2001 (s.4); 23/2004 (s.282); S.I’s 213/1982, 666/1983.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

PRELIMINARY

Section

  1. Short title.

PART II

MARRIAGE OFFICERS

  1. Magistrate to be marriage officer for district.
  2. Designation of ministers of religion and other persons as marriage officers.
  3. Certain persons may in certain circumstances be deemed to have been marriage officers.
  4. Change of name of religious denomination or organization and amalgamation of religious denominations or organizations.
  5. Revocation of designation as marriage officer.

PART III

SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE

  1. Unauthorized solemnization of marriage ceremonies forbidden.
  2. Publication of banns or notice of intention to marry or issue of marriage licence before marriage.
  3. Application for publication and acceptance of banns.
  4. How publication of banns of marriage to be made.
  5. Certificate of publication of banns.
  6. Publication outside Zimbabwe of banns or notice of intention to marry.
  7. Notice of intention to marry.
  8. Certificate of publication of notice of intention to marry.
  9. Marriage licence.
  10. Period of validity of banns, notice of intention to marry and marriage licence.
  11. Informalities in publication of banns or notice of intention to marry or in issue of marriage licence.
  12. Objections to marriage.
  13. Marriage of minors.
  14. Marriage of minors without consent voidable but not void.
  15. Prohibition of marriage of persons under certain ages.
  16. Proof of age of parties to proposed marriage.
  17. Legality of marriages between persons within certain degrees of affinity.
  18. Time and place for, and presence of parties and witnesses at, solemnization of marriage.
  19. Marriage formula.
  20. Certain marriage officers may refuse to solemnize certain marriages.
  21. Payments to marriage officers.
  22. Blessing of a marriage.

PART IV

REGISTRATION OFMARRIAGES

  1. Registrar of Marriages.
  2. Register of marriages.
  3. Registration of marriages by Registrar.
  4. Correction of errors.

PART V

OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

  1. Penalty for failure to comply with section 31.
  2. Penalties for solemnizing marriage contrary to this Act and for false representation or statement.

PART VI

MISCELLANEOUS

AN ACT to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the solemnization of marriages and matters incidental thereto.

[Date of commencement: 1st March, 1965.]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1    Short title

This Act may be cited as the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11].

                       2    Interpretation

In this Act—

“magistrate” means any magistrate appointed in terms of the Magistrates Court Act [Chapter 7:10];

“marriage” means a marriage under this Act;

“marriage licence” means a licence to marry issued in terms of section sixteen;

“marriage officer” means any person who is a marriage officer by virtue of this Act;

“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;

“minister of religion” means a person designated and registered as a marriage officer in terms of section four;

“prior law” means the Marriage Act [Chapter 177 of 1963] or the Validation of Marriages Act [Chapter 180 of 1963];

“Registrar” means the Registrar of Marriages referred to in section thirty.

PART II

MARRIAGE OFFICERS

                       3    Magistrate to be marriage officer for district

Every magistrate shall, by virtue of his office and so long as he holds such office, be a marriage officer for the district in which he holds office.

                       4     Designation of ministers of religion and other persons as marriage officers

  • The Minister may, at the request of the authority governing any religious denomination or organization, designate any person holding a responsible position in any such religious denomination or organization to be a marriage officer for the purpose of solemnizing marriages according to Christian, Jewish, Islamic or Hindoo rites or the rites of any religion, and such person shall, for the purposes of this Act, be known as a minister of religion.
  • The Registrar shall keep a register in the prescribed manner of all persons designated by the Minister in terms of subsection (1) as marriage officers.

                       5     Certain persons may in certain circumstances be deemed to have been marriage officers

  • Whenever any person has acted as a marriage officer during any period in respect of which he was not a

marriage officer under this Act or a prior law, and the Minister is satisfied that such person did so in the bona fide belief that he was a marriage officer during that period, he may direct in writing that such person shall for all purposes be deemed to have been a marriage officer during such period under this Act or a prior law, as the case may be.

  • Any marriage solemnized during such period by any person who is in terms of a direction under subsection (1) deemed to have been a marriage officer in respect thereof, shall, if such marriage was in every other respect solemnized in accordance with this Act or a prior law, as the case may be, and there was no lawful impediment thereto, be as valid and binding as it would have been if such person had been a marriage officer in respect of such period.
  • Nothing in subsection (1) contained shall be construed as relieving any person, in respect of whom a direction has been issued thereunder, from the liability to prosecution for any offence committed by him.

6       Change of name of religious denomination or organization and amalgamation of religious denominations or organizations

  • A change in the name of a religious denomination or organization or the amalgamation of a religious denomination or organization with any other religious denomination or organization shall not affect the designation as a marriage officer of any person who was so designated by virtue of his occupying any post or holding any position in any such religious denomination or organization.
  • If a religious denomination or organization in such circumstances as are contemplated in subsection (1) changes the name whereby it was known or amalgamates with any other religious denomination or organization, it shall immediately inform the Minister thereof.

                       7    Revocation of designation as marriage officer

  • The Minister may, on the ground of misconduct or for any other good cause, and where possible after consultation with the authority governing the religious denomination or organization concerned, revoke in writing the designation of any person as a marriage officer.
  • Where a minister of religion severs his connection with any religious denomination or organization in respect of which he was appointed a marriage officer, he shall forthwith cease to be a marriage officer. PART III

SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGE 8 Unauthorized solemnization of marriage ceremonies forbidden

  • A marriage may be solemnized by a marriage officer only.
  • Any person, not being a marriage officer, who purports to solemnize a marriage shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level seven or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

[Subsection as amended by section 4 of Act 22 of 2001]

9       Publication of banns or notice of intention to marry or issue of marriage licence before marriage

(1) Subject to subsection (2), no marriage officer shall solemnize any marriage unless in respect thereof and in terms of this Act or a prior law—

  • each of the parties has caused banns of marriage to be published; or
  • each of the parties has caused a notice of intention to marry to be published; or
  • one of the parties has caused banns of marriage to be published and other has caused a notice of intention to marry to be published; or
  • a marriage licence has been issued.

(2) A party to a proposed marriage within Zimbabwe may, if the law of the country in which he is ordinarily resident does not require the publication of banns of marriage or of notice of intention to marry, lodge with the marriage officer concerned a certificate issued by an appropriate authority in that country to the effect that there is no impediment to the proposed marriage, and such certificate shall be accepted by the marriage officer in lieu of a certificate or notice of intention to marry if the marriage officer is satisfied that publication of such banns or notice of intention is not required by the laws of that country.

10 Application for publication and acceptance of banns

  • Any party who desires to cause banns of marriage to be published shall deliver or cause to be delivered to any minister of religion at least two days prior to the intended publication or at any time prior to such publication, which such minister of religion may in his discretion allow, a written application to publish such banns:

Provided that no such application to publish such banns shall be accepted by a minister of religion unless the party concerned has resided in the area in which such minister of religion holds office for a period of at least fourteen days immediately preceding the date of the receipt of such application.

  • An application referred to in subsection (1) shall—

(a) state the full names, age, condition and residential address of each of the parties; and (b) bear the signature of each of the parties and be dated by either of them.

(3) Nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as compelling any minister of religion to accept and publish any banns of marriage.

11 How publication of banns of marriage to be made

  • Any minister of religion or any person authorized by the authority governing the religious denomination or organization concerned may publish banns of marriage.
  • Such banns of marriage shall specify the full names and residential address of each of the persons to be married and publication thereof shall, subject to subsection (3), be made either—
  • in an audible manner, some time during public divine service, on three Sundays preceding the solemnization of the marriage, in the face of the congregation before whom such minister of religion or other authorized person officiates; or
  • by posting the banns, for an unbroken period covering three successive Sundays preceding the solemnization of the marriage, in a conspicuous place in or in the immediate vicinity of the ordinary place of worship of the congregation concerned.

(3) If the principal public divine service of a denomination or organization is held weekly on a day other than a Sunday, publication of banns in terms of paragraph (a) of subsection (2) may be made during such a service on such day instead of on a Sunday.

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