05/12/2017 13:14 SAST | Updated 06/12/2017 11:42 SAST

You Cannot Be Someone Else's Husband If You're Still Legally Married

"I don't love that woman anymore" does not cut it.

South African kwaito star Mshoza.
Gallo Images
South African kwaito star Mshoza.

Kwaito star Mshoza's new husband, Thuthukani Mvula, believes he did not break the law when he married her in a traditional ceremony -- even though he is still legally married to his estranged wife Duduzile Mvula.

According to the Sowetan, Duduzile has taken the duo to court, saying Thuthukani committed bigamy when he married Mshoza without divorcing her. She served him with a summons to annul the new union with the musician.

As it turns out, Duduzile is well within her rights.

In South Africa, a man can only have one wife in a civil marriage. So while he is married under civil law, he will not be able to enter into a civil or customary marriage with anyone else. He can only marry a second wife if the civil marriage is ended by divorce or if the wife dies.

Duduzile also said her husband had not asked permission to take a second wife, as is required by customary law. Under this law, a man is allowed to take a second wife, however, this cannot happen if the first wife does not consent to the second marriage.

In 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of a Tsonga wife who got married under customary law, but learned after her husband's death that he had married another woman under customary law. The court deemed the second marriage invalid as the first wife had not consented to the latter union.

READ: Considering Getting Married Under Customary Law? Here's What You Should Know

Further, under this law, a husband must enter into a written agreement, which states what should happen to the property and how it should be shared amongst his wives. He must then apply to the court to approve the written contract.

ALSO READ: The Wife, The Other Woman And The Deceased Husband's Estate -- What Happens?

In Thuthukani's case, because he is still legally married under civil law, he cannot enter into a customary marriage.

However, Thuthukani does not believe he broke the law. "She [Duduzile] left me five years ago, so what am I supposed to do because I'm a man?" he moaned. He told Sowetan Live he does not love Duduzile anymore -- but that might not legally cut it.