As Sinclair and Heaton point out, the duties of cohabitation and fidelity flow from this relationship. In Grobbelaar v Havenga it was held that “[c]ompanionship, love, affection, comfort, mutual services, sexual intercourse—all belong to the married state. Taken together, they make up the consortium.”
It is important to emphasise that over the past decades an accelerating process of transformation has taken place in family relationships as well as in societal and legal concepts regarding the family and what it comprises. Sinclair and Heaton, after alluding to the profound transformations of the legal relationships between family members that have taken place in the past, comment as follows on the present:
“But the current period of rapid change seems to ‘strike at the most basic assumptions’ underlying marriage and the family.
Itself a country where considerable political and socio-economic movement has been and is taking place, South Africa occupies a distinctive position in the context of developments in the legal relationship between family members and between the state and the family. Its heterogeneous society is ‘fissured by differences of language, religion, race, cultural habit, historical experience and self-definition’ and, consequently,
- Above n 60 at 423.
- 1964 (3) SA 522 (N) at 525 E.
- Above n 60 at 6–7.