A brilliant young man, who last year received several distinctions in matric, but now cannot enrol for university or even work as he does not have a birth certificate and thus cannot get an ID document, turned to court to force the Department of Home Affairs to issue him with these documents.
North Gauteng High Court Judge Neil Tuchten last month ordered the government to issue him with a birth certificate and a ID-book by the end of last month.
The man, only identified as MB, told the court the matter was extremely urgent, as he now had to enrol at university, but could not register as he has no documents. He also cannot work in the meantime or open a bank account as he does not have an ID.
Despite the deadline set by the court, Home Affairs had to date not yet issued the documents to him.
Centre for Human Rights Lawyer Karabo Ngidi, who is assisting MB in his plight, said Home Affairs last week said it was giving the matter attention, but the fact remained that they had not yet adhered to the court order.
“My client is meanwhile still in the same position as he was before the court order,” she said.
The court was earlier told how MB was born in Russia, but after his father left his mother before his birth, he and his mother moved to South Africa in 2 000. The only document the young boy had then was a passport.
His mother remarried, but a few years later, she and his stepfather were arrested on charges relating to, among other crimes, child pornography, to which he at the time fell victim.
He was removed from their care and went to live with a family, who adopted him a few days before his 18th birthday.
He said his adoptive parents tried in vain to obtain a birth certificate and an ID book for him.
These attempts failed, as Home Affairs said they could not give him an ID book without a birth certificate.
MB said he had no birth certificate when he entered South Africa with his mother years ago and the only documentation he has is a copy of his passport with which he entered the country. The children’s court accepted this copy as sufficient proof of identity during his adoption.
MB said that with difficulty he managed to write matric last year without an ID, as special arrangements were made for him. He asked the court last month to order that he not be identified in the media and said that although he was now 19, he had been the victim of sex abuse at the hands of his biological mother and her husband.