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Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs has finally registered an 18-month-old baby, under pressure of a  Children’s Court order. 

According to Carol Mohlala at Lawyers for Human Rights, social workers said Baby Senelile* was found in a field in Pretoria soon after birth. There were no clues about who her parents were and home affairs refused to issue the baby with a birth certificate.

"The effect was that Senelile was not able to be adopted by her safe care parents who had been caring for her since soon after her abandonment," Mohlala said. "She had also been in need of emergency health care which her safe care parents were fortunately able to provide even though their medical aid rejected the claim, because she was undocumented."

An order was issued by the Pretoria Children's Court and served on the legal services of the department of Home Affairs who were then compelled to comply with the law.

Mohlala said the LHR is representing several abandoned children in the same position.

"This is proof that the department has either taken such a decision, or at the very least is not doing enough to ensure that local offices are informed of the law requiring such children to be registered."

In a statement, the department said there were no clues about who her parents were and that Baby Senelile* was clearly an abandoned and vulnerable foundling child.

DHA said Senelile was now registered and protected from trafficking. She was secure in the family where she was loved because the adoption process can now go ahead.

“She will be able to go to school. She will not be stateless. And the effects of her abandonment will not haunt her all her life, because she has been allowed a legal existence in our society,” said DHA.

Baby Senelile* - Not her real name

African News Agency (ANA)