IN honour of South Africa’s late struggle icon Nelson Mandela, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza, recently visited various government institutions around the city in a bid to encourage people to have birth certificates and identity documents.
The programme which was attended by the Mayor of Umgungundlovu, Councillor Thobeka Maphumulo and Msunduzi Mayor, Councillor Themba Njilo, started at Edendale Hospital where new mothers were encouraged to apply for their children’s birth certificates within the first 30 days after birth. It ended at the local KwaPoyinandi Hall near Ashdown which is used as a pay point office for grants.
The programme to register new births while still in hospital was officially introduced by the Department of Home Affairs in 2013. As a result, various government hospitals and clinics have small Department of Home Affairs offices. Since the programme started in 2013, according to research conducted by Statistics South Africa in 2017, North West has the highest number of new-born registrations at 92%, with KwaZulu Natal following at 66%.
Speaking to Msunduzi News, the Deputy Minister said that while there are many hospitals around the province that render Department of Home Affairs services, they decided to visit Edendale hospital because according to information given to them, about 2000 babies are born at this hospital every three months.
He said that it is important for mothers of new-borns to apply for their children’s birth certificates, so that the children do not encounter problems when they are older. He further encouraged mothers to bring in their identity documents so that it will be easy to apply for birth certificates. While the programme seems to be running smoothly, Nzuza also raised concerns that most fathers are still not part of the process. “We now have new birth certificates which are called unabridged certificates which need personal details of both parents. When fathers don’t come forward with their particulars, it delays the process of getting the certificates as they cannot be issued without the father’s details,” said Nzuza
In 2015 the Department of Home Affairs introduced the Unabridged certificate under Immigration Laws, so as to protect children from being victims of human trafficking.
One of the mothers, Thandi Dlamini, said a new lease of life has been given to new mothers as they no longer have to stand in long queues in order to apply for birth certificates.
Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo applauded the initiative saying that it brings a sigh of relief to many new mothers. He said as a municipality they are willing to support the programme by spreading the word in various communities.