Liyema Sohuma, 15, and her mother Fezeka Sohuma from Langa looking for a carbon copy they received from Home Affairs in 2018. Picture Sisonke Mlamla
Liyema Sohuma, 15, and her mother Fezeka Sohuma from Langa looking for a carbon copy they received from Home Affairs in 2018. Picture Sisonke Mlamla

Langa teen left without a school for three years due to Home Affairs bungle

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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Cape Town - A 15-year-old girl from Langa has been struggling to get placement in high schools after her parents were alerted that her birth certificate was wrongly documented and stated her as a boy.

Liyema Sohuma, who was born in the New Somerset hospital in September 2005, last went to school three years back after she passed her Grade 7 at Luthuthu primary school in the Eastern Cape, where she stayed with her grandparents.

Her mother, Fezeka Sohuma, 33, said she had been struggling to get a school for Liyema because she was allegedly told that her birth certificate was wrongly documented. She decided to bring her to Cape Town after she was advised to go back to the hospital where she gave birth so they could fix the problem.

Liyema Sohuma, 15, and her mother Fezeka Sohuma looking for a carbon copy they received from Home Affairs in 2018. Picture Sisonke Mlamla

Sohuma said she went to the hospital several times and was told to go to the Home Affairs in Bellville, where she submitted all her documents including Liyema’s in July 15, 2018, according to a carbon copy she received from Home Affairs.

“Since then, nothing has been done, no feedback, nothing. Every day, my child is crying because she wants to go to school like any other child, but no school admits her because of the wrong documents,” said Sohuma.

When the Cape Argus talked to Liyema, she cried, saying all she wanted was to go to school. “Every morning when I see other children going to school, my heart gets pained, because I also want to study like them,” she said.

Health Department spokesperson Natalie Watlington confirmed that Sohuma visited their facility on July 18, 2019 requesting a new road to health card which was issued – not a new birth registration.

Watlington said the on site Home Affairs official could not pick up a registration of birth for the child born 2005 on the national system of he department so it was unclear if the mother registered her child’s birth, thus the mistake was not due to the hospital.

When the Cape Argus contacted Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane, he asked for more time to investigate the matter and was granted five days. However, he failed to respond to queries, after numerous calls we made requesting for clarity.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond, said the department had always told schools to be sympathetic to the challenges some parents faced with Home Affairs documentation – however, the parent was required to show proof that engagements with Home Affairs were under way.

“If a parent has had challenges with schools directly accepting their documentation, then they are to approach the district office for assistance,” said Hammond.

Cape Argus

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