Chief Says Married Men Going to RSA Desert Families

Senior Chief Mphuka of Thyolo has suggested formulation of a legislation which would spell-out a duration a married man can live behind his wife and trekk to South Africa, as many are reportedly deserting responsibilities in the district.

Senior Chief Mphuka, who is also Chiefs Forum Chairperson told Zodiak on Friday that this would help in protecting women who are suffering since many of men leave debts, secretly marry there and send nothing home.

He says during Teba, married men were only allowed to go and work in South Africa for one or two years while supporting their families home.

He however wonders why this is not happening now as most young married men in the district are trekking to South Africa while leaving parents or wives with debts to service, secretly marry there and send nothing home.

"If there was formulation of laws, it would have given a wife confidence that once his man goes to South Africa, he will come back. If he is not coming, government should be forcing them out to care for their families," Mphuka suggested.

Meanwhile, gender rights activist Emma Kaliya says much as the problem is bigger in the country, it is impractical to formulate another law since the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, is already clear on what awaits anybody who deserts a family.

Kaliya says community leaders should exercise their responsibility of sensitizing, condemning the act and take to task parents of such men, adding in many areas like Mzimba, women are even guarded to ensure they do not go out with other men until the man comes back from South Africa.

"These things have not been addressed, they just look at it... allowing young people to marrying wives, go to South Africa, leave them behind and stay there. Nobody has condemned this, that's the problem. So how would they enforce a by-law on someone who is in South Africa?

"What I am simply saying is that, it starts with them as communities to start understanding, that they cannot encourage young people marrying wives, go to South Africa and stay there. The only thing that can happen is taking to task parents of these young men in South Africa," Kaliya said.

In Thyolo, tens of young people are in South Africa for greener pastures where most of them take time to return.

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