By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2018-06-14
THE song that goes ‘love doesn’t cost a thing’ could well be misguided in the country if one considers the new Finance Bill of 2018, which states that it costs E30 000 to register a marriage, that is, if she or he is a foreigner.
This is contained in the proposed Finance Bill of 2018 Part XIV , which states that marrying a foreigner as a citizen of Eswatini will see a person parting with E30 000 to register a marriage with the ministry of home affairs.
This means if a citizen wants to marry a foreigner even if she or he is from neighbouring countries, that person must be ready to part with E30 000 to register the marriage.
Members of the public who have received wind of the Finance Bill and the E30 000 charge raised their concern over the issue, clearly stating that they were totally against such. The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) happened to post about such new regulations in its website page and within minutes, members of the public flooded the page with texts, giving their different views on the Bill. Some described the Bill as absolute madness and that it should never be passed into law. Emmanuel Ndlangamandla, Executive Director of CANGO, said they were concerned about the proposed E30 000 fee for citizens that have a wish to marry non-emaSwati.
“This proposed amendment under Part XIV of the Finance Bill of 2018 imposes huge fees for citizens of the kingdom who have an interest in marrying foreigners,” said Ndlangamandla.
“The Finance Bill proposing to amend the Citizenship Act of 2 000 proposes a E2 000 pre-application fee for those requesting citizenship through marriage.
The Finance Bill then proposes a further E30 000 fee for those that have been granted citizenship by marriage. Both the pre-application fee and citizenship used to cost each E100 under the citizenship act of 1992,” part of a statement released by Ndlangamandla to this publication, reads. He further said while CANGO does not oppose increments, where they are justified, they feel that the government of Eswatini should exercise caution and adjust such increments in view of the prevailing economic situation of the country. He justified this by citing the poverty levels which are still above 65 per cent as stated in many national and international documents, with the ordinary Liswati struggling to have a meal a day.
He said by increasing the cost of inter-marriages for ordinary citizens, the bill proposes to limit the extent of people in the kingdom enjoying their Bill of Rights as articulated in the Constitution of Eswatini. Ndlangamandla said inter-marriages have played a crucial role in promoting relations between tribes and nations from time immemorial.
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