I have been in the ministry for the last 44 years pastoring several congregations. I received my degrees from RAU (now Johannesburg University) and the Pretoria University.
I also furthered my studies at Unisa in practical theology and later at Johannesburg University.
I have coordinate hundreds of weddings and / or marriage certificates over the 44 years in ministry. According to the specific needs of each couple, that varies from informal to formal, from Afrikaans to English.
My personal view on marriage
Marriage is a covenant between two people and also between them and God, Even if you don’t belong to a specific church or denomination it is still necessary to understand that a wedding is so much more then just a ceremony.
It is a lifelong commitment, this would also apply for marriage registration in which case I would also like to pray for you.
Please note that we can only give you a Temporary Marriage Certificate as per South African Law you need to collect your Permanent Certificate 7 - 10 days later at your nearest Home Affairs
Every Marriage Officer has been approved and designated by Home Affairs. They are issued what is called a “designation letter” which confirms their status. In this letter they are given a designation number. This number is usually starts with the letters “BD” and followed by a 5 or 6 digit number. In the case of Civil Union Marriage Officers the number is preceded with “CU” and a 3 digit number.
If you want to be sure your Marriage Officer is legit, ask him for a copy of his Designation number. If you want to take it further than that you can call Home Affairs in Pretoria on 012 406 2685. Give them the BD number of the Marriage Officer’s full name and they can verify it for you.
The law states that a marriage may be take place “in” a public office, a church or building used for religious services or a private residence. The law makes no reference to a “roof” or “walls” so it all comes down to the interpretation of the word “in”. Generally speaking it is considered okay or a wedding to take place within the boundaries of the venue. If asked, Home Affairs will state that this must take place inside with open doors.
Up until approximately 2002 you could go to court and be married by a Magistrate. This is no longer the case. This role was moved to Home Affairs. Every office has at least one designated Marriage Officer. This is most often a secondary role in that it is not his person’s primary duty to conduct marriages.
Same Sex marriages were formalised in 2006 with the promulgation of the Civil Union Act. This law made is optional for Home Affairs Marriage Officers to decide if they were okay with concluding same sex marriages. This has resulted in many offices refuses to assist same sex couples. This is untenable and in late 2018 regulations were issued stating that Home Affairs were no longer allowed to turn away same sex couples. There is a 2 year period stipulated to rectify this.
Marriages are not concluded every day. Each office has their own schedule of which days they do marriages.
The advantage, and it is the only advantage, of getting married at Home Affairs is that it is free of charge.
Keep in mind that each office tends to have their own variations on the process but generally the process of arranging to be married at a Home Affairs office is as follows:
You or your partner have to visit your local home affairs with your original IDs and a copy.
They will check their diary and advise you of the next available day and time.
On the scheduled date you must arrive with your IDs and two witnesses who must bring their IDs and a copy as well.
You can bring additional people with but space is generally limited and you will be sharing the space with other couples who have been scheduled to be married on the same day.
The Marriage Officer will check your IDs and witnesses IDs, fill in the marriage register, take your left thumb print and then ask you each two questions. This is know as the “marriage formula”.
The register is signed by the two of you, your two witnesses and the Marriage Officer.
You will be given a manual Marriage Certificate. This is an A5 size certificate with your details hand written on it.
That’s it! Excluding any wait time, which is very likely, the process takes about 15 minutes.
Your Marriage Officer will give you will receive a marriage certificate immediately. This is called a “manual” marriage certificate as it is simply a blank certificate with your details handwritten onto it.
There are two other versions of the certificate:
Abridged Certificate: This is a printed version of the one you get on the day. This can be obtained from Home Affairs in a single visit. It might a long visit but you’ll get it nonetheless.
Unabridged Certificate: This has more detail on it and it signed and stamped. This is usually required when doing anything involving another country, i.e. immigrating, obtaining a foreign passport and the like. This certificate can take anything from 7 to 10 days to obtain. There is no good reason for this but that is our experience.
If you need help obtaining any of these certificates, get in touch. We can help
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