Babalo Ndenze15 May 2024 | 17:21

From combatting hate speech to recognition of Muslim marriages, these are the bills Ramaphosa has now made law

From laws dealing with hate speech to Muslim marriages, Eyewitness News looks at the bills that President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law this week.

From combatting hate speech to recognition of Muslim marriages, these are the bills Ramaphosa has now made law

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed a public ceremony where he signed the National Health Insurance Bill into law at the Union Buildings in Tswhane on 15 May 2024. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa this week signed a few bills into law, from laws dealing with combatting hate crimes to those governing divorce and Muslim marriages.

While Ramaphosa signed bills into law, the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) also adopted several bills which now also await the president’s signature.

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa assented into law the Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Speech Bill, which has been widely welcomed.


The bill defines a hate crime as an offence committed where the offender is motivated by prejudice or intolerance towards the victim of the crime.

The new law now makes it clear the grounds that could constitute a hate crime. 

It says these include age, albinism, birth, colour, culture, disability, ethnic or social origin, gender or gender identity, HIV status and even language.

The bill also provides for penalties such as fines, imprisonment, or both, for those who are convicted of the offences.

COSATU's parliamentary coordinator, Matthew Parks, welcomed the bill, saying it allowed space for robust engagements within "fair legal parameters".  

"It affirms the need to protect ordinary citizens from hate crimes and hate speech. It is a progressive response by the African National Congress-led government to address our still painful wounds," said Parks.


President Ramaphosa this week also signed into law the Divorce Amendment Bill, which amends the Divorce Act of 1979 to recognise Muslim marriages.

The new law now protects the interests of Muslim women and children of Muslim marriages if the marriage is dissolved.

The bill was in response to an earlier Constitutional Court judgment which called for the need to protect Muslim women and children of Muslim marriages, particularly when the marriage ends.

The amendment addressed shortcomings in the Divorce Act, which differentiated between people married in terms of the Marriage Act and people married according to Muslim rites, especially women.

Ramaphosa explained that currently, Muslim couples who choose to marry according to Islamic law can only be afforded the statutory protection of the South African legal system as it pertains to civil spouses if they, in addition to their marriage under Islamic law, register a civil marriage.


The National Council of Provinces this week also managed to pass several bills before the current parliamentary term ends in just over a week.

These include the National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill.

Parliament said that the amendment bill seeks to align the National Nuclear Regulator Act with current international regulatory best practices.

"This is necessary because South Africa is one of the founding members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is a signatory to various international conventions governing nuclear safety that have been promulgated under the auspices of the IAEA," said Parliament.

The Public Procurement Bill also got a green light in the NCOP. The Western Cape was the only province to oppose the bill.

The bill aims to reform the tender system and introduce a broad preferential procurement framework for procurement by organs of state and includes sections.

The bill will also see the establishment of a Public Procurement Office under the National Treasury to handle all procurement matters.

Lawmakers also adopted the Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Reserve Account (GFECRA) Defrayal Amendment Bill.

The GFECRA Defrayal Amendment Bill was first tabled in Parliament by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in February. 

During the Budget speech, Godongwana said that National Treasury would tap into R150 billion from GFECRA over three years to stabilise the nation’s debt.