Source: Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
Dear South Africans,
More than a million children are born in our country each year and are issued birth certificates. But estimates are that another 100 000 children are not registered at birth in South Africa, setting them up for a lifetime of exclusion, disadvantage, and de facto statelessness.
Our progressive constitution provides the right to a name and nationality from birth for every child. It also ensures the right to primary education, to healthcare and other social services, to protection from exploitation and abuse — among numerous other important human rights. A birth certificate is key to a nationality, identity, and to the opportunities and obligations that will be part of what it means to be South African for the rest of their lives. We can take pride in these provisions for our children, and the steps and progress made by our leaders to put them in place.