Will the ‘I dos’ wane as registers dry up 2016-09-11 06:03

Bride and groom standing in a courtyard after the wedding.

Bride and groom standing in a courtyard after the wedding.

Couples planning to get married this spring may be forced to postpone their wedding ceremonies, as the department of home affairs is experiencing a countrywide shortage of marriage registers.

Since May 2016, marriage officers in private practice have reportedly not received the documents from the department, and they are fuming.

City Press has seen several correspondences between marriage officers and the director of births, marriages, deaths and records management at the department of home affairs, Aaron Ramodumo, in which a majority appealed unsuccessfully to get new copies of marriage registers from the department.

A Pretoria-based marriage officer, Jaco Venter, said he had not received new marriage registers for three months.

“We have a shortage of marriage registers in the country and very little is being done about it.

“Our biggest frustration is inconsistency in the different offices. You’ll find five different opinions regarding regulations, rules and laws within one office.

“No one knows what is going on. Each one has his or her own interpretation of what is right or not,” complained Venter.

Ramodumo confessed in several emails sent to complaining marriage officers: “It is true that we are dealing with some internal matters relating to the acquisition of marriage registers. The chief director … has pleaded with supply chain to speed up the process. I remain hopeful that we will get the registers soon.”

“I only have six marriage registers left,” said Venter.

In another email to a desperate marriage officer, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, Ramodumo wrote: “I am aware we are still to do stock taking; we are very soon going to crash, as there is a desperate need for DHA-30 forms [marriage registers] (sic).”

However, the department insisted that there was no crisis, saying there were more marriage registers than needed.

“It’s a question of provincial managers not allocating registers to specific offices,” said the department’s spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete.