Monday, January 31, 2011

Proof of Nationality required for abandoned babies?

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Home Affairs under fire over birth certificate delays
Rahima Essop |

2010/12/23 05:45:59 PM

The Department of Home Affairs has come under fire on Thursday over delays in the issuing of birth certificates.

Around 80 abandoned youngsters staying in children’s homes in Johannesburg were unable to be placed in foster care because of the delays.

Home Affairs failed to issue birth certificates because their nationalities were not known.
Officials from the department denied that it was failing the abandoned children and added that they were deeply concerned.
The department said the children could not be registered because of insufficient proof of their parent’s identities.

Home Affairs will now ensure that the matter be resolved quickly.

Meanwhile, the department is currently busy with the implementation of its National Population Registration Campaign.

The campaign aims to encourage parents to register their babies within 30 days of birth.

DHA Response

Department of Home Affairs refutes allegations it is failing abandoned children
23 Dec 2010
The Department of Home Affairs unequivocally refutes allegations it is failing  abandoned children, as reported on page 1 of The Star today Thursday, 23 December 2010.

Deputy Director General Vusumuzi Mkhize responding to the article today said, “The
Department is currently seized with the implementation of its National Population Register (NPR) Campaign which seeks to clean up the country’s population register with a view to ensuring its credibility, integrity and security.”

“As part of this campaign, parents are urged to register their babies within 30 days of birth, as is legally required in South Africa. In this way, even in the unfortunate event that a child loses both its parents, the nationality of the child as well as identities of the parents will be recorded in the population register. To facilitate the expeditious registration of babies, we are also increasing the numbers of hospitals linked to Home Affairs offices so that ideally, babies will be registered before they leave hospital with their mothers. Their birth certificates now also include their identity number as well as the name of their mother, which will make it easier to confirm nationality.”

“Two legal instruments which will also assist this process are currently before Parliament – the South African Citizenship Amendment Bill as well as the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Bill. Recently passed into law, these bills will ensure children born in South Africa or to South African parents are registered accurately.”

“However, despite these measures which will ensure children do not face the same plight as those in the story, we are deeply concerned about the welfare of children who cannot be registered due to insufficient proof of their parent’s identities. Officials in the department have therefore been instructed to act with speed to ensure this matter is resolved quickly and will work with the relevant authorities in this regard. The children that cannot be confirmed as South African will be issued with hand written certificates to ensure they are accounted for but will not be registered in the country’s population register until proof of citizenship is obtained,” concluded DDG Mkhize.

Ronnie Mamoepa
Cell: 082 990 4853

Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
23 Dec 2010