South Africa: Home Affairs does nothing to help disabled learners get IDs

Published: 17/May/2022
Source: GroundUp (Cape Town)

The state is denying learners their rights, says lawyer

By Liezl Human

The future is uncertain for 18-year-old Dudu Setoe who has never had a birth certificate or an Identity Document (ID) despite many back-and-forths to Home Affairs offices. Although Setoe recently came first in an in-house athletics competition, she is unable to compete provincially or nationally because she can’t present these crucial documents.

Setoe, three other learners and one former learner at Itumeleng school for intellectually disabled children in Gauteng have struggled for years with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to get their IDs without any success.

Setoe, who plays netball and also runs the 200m and 400m sprint, said that her she becomes herself when she is playing sport.

Setoe was never registered at birth. Her mother is deceased and her father is unknown. Her foster parent, Armando Setoe, said to GroundUp that he and the school have been trying to get her ID for four years but that they are now at their wits’ end.

“Home Affairs always gives different excuses, always a different story,” he said.

The five are now at risk of statelessness, which means they will not be able to access rights such as access to education, healthcare, or job opportunities, according to Lawyer for Human Rights. (The learners were born in South Africa and probably even had South African parents. But some of them were abandoned as children and others are orphans.)

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Themes: Acquisition by children, Birth Registration
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2022