Every child has the right to education, health and a unique identity. However, in order for a child to enjoy these rights, the responsibility lies with their parents to ensure that they register their child’s birth with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) within 30 days of the birth.
Having a birth certificate is vital to being a citizen of South Africa. You need your child’s birth certificate to:
- Register a child at school
- Apply for any government grants
- Obtain an identity document
- Secure formal employment.
The importance of registering your child’s birth within 30 days
By law, parents are required to register their child at the closest DHA office within 30 days of the birth. This is free of charge. However, if you register after 30 days, you will have to pay a penalty fee. The DHA has opened offices in hospitals and health facilities throughout the country to help parents register their child’s birth immediately. Parents wanting more information should speak to the clinic or hospital staff for advice.
Registering your child’s birth enables them to access to their rights to:
- Education and health – non-registration of a child’s birth may affect her education, as schools will not register a child who does not have a birth certificate that has the details of both parents.
- Family environment – a birth registration ensures that a child’s citizenship, identity and human rights are protected. For example, she is protected against identity theft.
- Protection against human trafficking and kidnapping – one of the reasons that the government is being so strict about the need for birth certificates is to reduce child kidnappings and child trafficking.
What about moms who give birth in rural areas?
DHA reaffirmed its partnership agreement for the early birth registration campaign with Procter & Gamble in December last year at a signing ceremony at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hopsital in Johannesburg. It also initiated the roll-out of e-registration services at hospitals.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says that the partnership with Procter & Gamble is apt as it will help to reach out to those rural, poor and previously disadvantaged communities through joint co-ordinated efforts. “This will enable us to provide support and use the resources at our disposal to undertake awareness campaigns to inculcate a culture among South Africans to register births within the prescribed 30 days,” he says.
“This public-private partnership with Procter & Gamble will help us achieve our objectives by promoting advocacy and mobilising citizens around early birth registration at grassroots level, in prenatal clinics and in maternity wards across the country. Through this arrangement, we are hoping to benefit from Procter & Gamble’s skills and assets in the delivery of services for the benefit of the general public.”
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.