Pretoria - Fresh regulations for new births and deaths would strengthen human rights in the country, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Fatima Chohan said on Wednesday.
“We see updating and strengthening legislation on births registration as a fundamental step in protecting citizenship, identity and human rights,” she told reporters in Pretoria.
All children had a right to an identity and parents and guardians should register them.
She said the department had tightened the processes for birth registration and would now require the notification of birth be made by both parents.
The fingerprints of parents would be verified.
“We also now require the palm, foot or fingerprint of the child whose birth is sought to be registered to be taken and archived,” Chohan said.
The measures were introduced in an attempt to eliminate fraud.
Birth notification should be submitted within 30 days of birth by the parents or legal guardian or next of kin if the parents were dead.
“We have begun to see a shift in the behaviour of South African parents in that the trend is showing that most births are registered within the first year of birth,” Chohan said.
“This has got to change if we are to have a secure and reliable National Population Register.”
The department was working with over 300 public and private hospitals to make it easier to register children after birth.
Deputy director general of civic services Vusi Mkhize said parents should take their responsibility seriously and register their children.
“It is worse to have a scandal of invisibility if our children when they are unknown and they are not identifiable when there is child-trafficking and abuse,” he said.
If children were registered and something happened to the parents the department would be able to take care of them.
On new death regulations, Chohan said notice of death should be given within 72 hours of death, at health facilities and home deaths.
Funeral homes would be able to register in order to assist the department with notices of death.