This chapter on South Africa critically analyses the evolution of the concept of the best interests of the child, and specifically how it pertains to the fields of care (custody), contact (access), guardianship and maintenance (support), which are all part of parents’ responsibilities and rights, and impact on the legal position of Muslim children. This chapter compares and contrasts Muslim Personal Law (MPL) and practices pertaining to children with those of South African law in order to ascertain whether they comply with, conflict with or compromise the ‘best interests’ concept paramount in, and permeating, South African law in general and international and regional instruments. In doing so, the chapter reviews the position of Muslim children and the milestones in child law in South Africa prior to and since democracy with a focus on three pieces of legislation since democracy: the Constitution (1996), the Children’s Act (2005) and the Muslim Marriages Bill (MMB) (2010).


Parental responsibilities and rights Care (custody) Contact (access) Guardianship Maintenance (support) Best interests of the child Muslim children South Africa Muslim Personal Law 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Western CapeBellvilleSouth Africa

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