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ACTTo provide for the recognition of marriages contracted in terms of the Swapo Family Act, 1977, and the adoption of children in terms of the said Act; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.BE IT ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Republic of Namibia, as follows:-
Recognition of Certain Marriages Act, 1991
Act 18 of 1991
Published in Government Gazette no. 315 on 11 December 1991
Assented to on 28 November 1991
Commenced on 11 December 1991
[Up to date as at 6 November 2020]
In this Act, unless the context otherwise indicates -“Family Act” means the SWAPO Family Act, 1977, approved by the Central Committee of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia, as promulgated on 1 December 1977, and of which the provisions are set out in the Schedule;“magistrate” includes an additional magistrate and an assistant magistrate.
2. Recognition of certain marriages contracted outside Namibia
(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, every marriage which was contracted outside Namibia by a competent authority as contemplated in the Family Act -(a)before 21 March 1990;(b)in accordance with the provisions of the Family Act,shall be recognised, from the date it was contracted, as a marriage which has the status in law equal to that of a marriage contracted by a marriage officer as defined in the Marriage Act, 1961 (Act 25 of 1961), as if it had been contracted in accordance with the provisions of that Act.(2)The provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply in respect of any such marriage -(a)which was annulled in accordance with the provisions of the Family Act before the commencement of this Act;(b)if, either of the parties to such marriage has during the subsistence of such marriage, but before the commencement of this Act, contracted another marriage, whether in terms of the Family Act or any other law.(3)(a)Notwithstanding the provisions of any law or the common law, the rights and obligations relating to the matrimonial property of the spouses of a marriage recognised by subsection (1) or in the case of the dissolution of such marriage, shall be governed by the provisions of the Family Act.(b)For the purposes of paragraph (a), any reference in the Family Act to the agency competent for matrimonial and family affairs shall be deemed to be a reference to the High Court of Namibia.(4)Save as is otherwise provided in this Act, any marriage recognised by subsection (1) shall, from the date of commencement of this Act, for all purposes, be governed by the laws relating to marriages in Namibia.
3. Marriage certificates and registration of recognised marriages
(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, a certificate of marriage issued or purporting to have been issued under the Family Act shall be prima facie proof of the contents thereof and that the marriage to which it relates is a marriage in respect of which the provisions of section 2(1) apply.(2)Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other law contained, any magistrate shall upon application in the prescribed form and upon submission to him or her of -(a)a certificate of marriage referred to in subsection (1); and(b)a statement under oath or affirmation by the parties to the marriage concerned stating that such marriage has not been annulled or dissolved by divorce under the Family Act and that neither one of the parties to such marriage has during the subsistence of such marriage contracted another marriage as contemplated in section 2(2)(b),record the registration of such marriage in the register kept by such magistrate in terms of the provisions of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act, 1963 (Act 81 of 1963), as if the magistrate had solemnized the said marriage at the date specified in the certificate of marriage.(3)The provisions of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act, 1963 (Act 81 of 1963), relating to the registration of marriages shall apply in respect of a marriage recorded in the register referred to in subsection (2), and any reference in section 40 of that Act -(a)to at least two competent witnesses shall be deemed to be a reference to the magistrate who so registers the marriage concerned; and(b)to the premises where the marriage took place shall be deemed to be a reference to the premises where the marriage is so registered.(4)When a magistrate registers a marriage in terms of subsection (2) he or she shall record on the register the fact that the marriage is registered in terms of this Act.(5)The fact that a marriage referred to in section 2(1) has not been registered as contemplated in subsection (2) of this section, shall not affect the validity of such marriage.
4. Recognition of adoptions in terms of Family Act and registration thereof
(1)Any adoption of a child in terms of the provisions of the Family Act prior to 21 March 1990, shall, for all purposes, be recognised as an adoption which has the effect in law equal to the adoption of a child in terms of the laws governing adoptions in Namibia.(2)An adoption order issued or purporting to have been issued in terms of the Family Act in respect of an adoption referred to in subsection (1) may be registered with a commissioner of child welfare referred to in the Children’s Act, 1960 (Act 33 of 1960), as if the adoption concerned was effected by the order of a children’s court of the district in which the adopted person resides at the date of such registration.(3)The fact that an adoption referred to in subsection (1) has not been registered as contemplated in subsection (2), shall not affect the validity of such adoption.
5. Short title
This Act shall be called the Recognition of Certain Marriages Act, 1991.