Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949

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Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949  (1949) 
enacted by the Parliament of South Africa
The "Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act" (Act No. 55 of 1949) was a South African Act of Parliament which prohibited marriages between "Europeans" (white people) and "non-Europeans". It was one of the first pieces of apartheid legislation introduced after the rise to power of the National Party in 1948. It worked hand-in-hand with the Immorality Act, 1927 (and its successor the Immorality Act, 1957), which prohibited extra-marital sex between white people and people of other races. It was amended once, in 1968 by the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1968, to invalidate inter-racial marriages contracted by South African men living outside of South Africa. It was repealed in 1985 by the Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1985.

This is the text as originally enacted and does not incorporate the 1968 amendment. A version incorporating that amendment is also available on Wikisource.

Act

To prohibit marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans, and to provide for matters incidental thereto.



(English text signed by the Governor-General.)
(Assented to 1st July, 1949.)


Be it enacted by the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows:―

Marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans prohibited.

1. (1) As from the date of commencement of this Act a marriage between a European and a non-European may not be solemnized, and any such marriage solemnized in contravention of the provisions of this section shall be void and of no effect: Provided that—

(a) any such marriage shall be deemed to be valid, if—

(i) it has been solemnized in good faith by a marriage officer, and neither of the parties concerned, or any other person in collusion with one or the other of them, has made any false statement relating to the said marriage amounting to a contravention of section four; and

(ii) any party to such marriage professing to be a European or a non-European, as the case may be, is in appearance obviously what he professes to be, or is able to show, in the case of a party professing to be a European, that he habitually consorts with Europeans as a European, or in the case of a party professing to be a non-European, that he habitually consorts with non-Europeans as a non-European;

(b) where any such marriage has been solemnized in good faith by a marriage officer, any children born or conceived of such marriage before it has been declared by a competent court to be invalid, shall be deemed to be legitimate.

(2) If any male person who is domiciled in the Union enters into a marriage outside the Union which cannot be solemnized in the Union in terms of sub-section (1), then such marriage shall be void and of no effect in the Union.


Solemnization of mixed marriage by marriage officer an offence.

2. Any marriage officer who knowingly performs a marriage ceremony between a European and a non-European shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.


Presumption of race from appearance.

3. Any person who is in appearance obviously a European or a non-European, as the case may be, shall for the purposes of this Act be deemed to be such, unless and until the contrary is proved.


False statement to a marriage officer an offence.

4. Any person who makes a false statement to a marriage officer, relating to the question whether any party seeking to have his marriage solemnized by such marriage officer is a European or a non-European, knowing such statement to be false, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to the penalties prescribed by law for the crime of perjury.


Short title.

5. This Act shall be called the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949.

This work is in the public domain because it was created and first published in South Africa and it is an official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or an official translation of such a text.

According to the Copyright Act, 1978, § 12 (8) (a), "No copyright shall subsist in official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or in official translations of such texts."