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Press Release: Chil­dren finally receive birth cer­tifi­cates after LRC inter­venes

For Imme­di­ate Release: 14 Feb­ru­ary 2017


Yes­ter­day, 13 Feb­ru­ary 2017, two chil­dren born in South Africa to a Swazi mother and South African father have finally had their births reg­is­tered and unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates issued after the LRC inter­vened on their behalf.


The cou­ple approached the LRC after they were unable to reg­is­ter and obtain birth cer­tifi­cates from the Depart­ment of Home Affairs because the mother entered South Africa when she was 15 years old and she has been unable to obtain any doc­u­men­ta­tion legal­is­ing her stay.


The cou­ple have been in a rela­tion­ship since 2007 and made an appli­ca­tion for the reg­is­tra­tion of their old­est child nine years ago. Because the cou­ple have been unable to obtain the birth cer­tifi­cates for the chil­dren, the old­est child had been denied entry into school.


The LRC launched an urgent appli­ca­tion in the Dur­ban High Court on 1 April 2016 seek­ing an order for the Depart­ment of Home Affairs to issue the birth cer­tifi­cates.

The Depart­ment of Home Affairs and The Direc­tor Gen­eral of Home Affairs opposed the appli­ca­tion, on the basis that they would only be in a posi­tion to issue the chil­dren with birth cer­tifi­cates, once the mother ‘sorted out’ her doc­u­men­ta­tion.


How­ever, at all times, they admit­ted that the chil­dren were South African, in that they were born in South Africa and that their father was South African.


In the High Court, the LRC argued that sec­tion 29(1)(a) of the Con­sti­tu­tion enti­tles every­one to the right to a basic edu­ca­tion. Fur­ther­more, Sec­tion 28 of the Con­sti­tu­tion enti­tles every child to the right to a name and nation­al­ity from birth. There­fore, the State is under an oblig­a­tion to realise the children’s right to basic edu­ca­tion and the right to a name and nation­al­ity from birth.


Sec­tion 2 of the South African Cit­i­zen­ship Act states that any per­son who is born in or out­side the Repub­lic, one of his or her par­ents, at the time of his or her birth, being a South African cit­i­zen, must be reg­is­tered and pro­vided with a birth cer­tifi­cate. The Births and Deaths Reg­is­tra­tion Act allows for the reg­is­tra­tion of the birth of a minor child in the cir­cum­stances where one of the par­ents of the child does not have any form of proof of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.


Sadly, the father passed away on 5 May 2016.


When the LRC returned to court on the 15 Decem­ber 2016, the Min­is­ter of Home Affairs and the Direc­tor Gen­eral of Home Affairs under­took to issue the two minor chil­dren with birth cer­tifi­cates on or before 31 Jan­u­ary 2017.







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National Offices

Tel: +27 11 836 9831
Email: info@lrc.org.za

Address: 15th and 16th Floor, Bram Fis­cher Tow­ers,
20 Albert Street, Mar­shall­town, Johan­nes­burg
PO Box 9495, Johan­nes­burg 2000

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