High Court rules children born in South Africa can be registered, regardless of their parents’ legal status
Source: GroundUp (South Africa)
By Kathleen Mpofu
The Eastern Cape High Court in Grahamstown recently gave a decision in Naki v Director General Home Affairs that ensures the births of all children born in South Africa can be registered, regardless of the legal status of their parents.
Menzile Lawrence Naki, a South African, married Dimitrila Marie Ndovya while he was posted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a peacekeeper. They were married in the DRC according to his wife’s traditions and customs. The marriage was never registered and no marriage certificate was issued, since in the DRC customary marriages are not registered. As such the marriage is not recognised in terms of South African law.
The couple had two children in DRC. At the end of his tour, Naki returned to South Africa and his wife followed him a short while later on a three month visitor’s visa.
When Ndovya’s visa expired she was heavily pregnant and she was unable to travel back to the DRC. She was also not able to apply for a new visa.
She subsequently gave birth in Grahamstown. The couple then applied to have the birth of their daughter registered but the application was refused on numerous occasions. This led to Naki and Ndovya to make an application to the court to provide assistance in having the birth of their child registered.