Human Rights Commission to probe birth certificates in SA

Published: 9/Apr/2017
Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)
Bronwyn Davids

Cape Town – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is to review why children born in South Africa to foreign parents are not automatically awarded citizenship by the Department of Home Affairs.

Advocate Priscilla Jana, deputy chairperson of the SAHRC, said she been unaware that unabridged birth certificates were not issued to children born to foreign parents. “We will look into this matter,” she said.

Department of Home Affairs (DHA) spokesperson Thabo Mokgola said the department’s policy was that “for record purposes… a notice of birth” would be issued instead.

Cape Town attorney Joy van der Heyde said she had filed nine notices against DHA in the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town. They related to the department’s alleged refusal to issue unabridged birth certificates to foreign parents.

In another matter, Van der Heyde accused the department of failing to issue an unabridged birth certificate to a refugee whose daughter was born in the country.

“The assumption that if a child is born in this country, they automatically get citizenship, irrespective of whether their parents are foreign or not, is false,” she said.

“A notice of birth is issued by the hospital, this is not an identity document on which the child can be registered at school or obtain social grants. This notice, therefore, does not assist the child in being able to enforce his or her rights,” Van der Heyde pointed out.

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Themes: Acquisition by children, Birth Registration
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2017