File picture: Jae C Hong
File picture: Jae C Hong

Birth registration helps fight child trafficking

By Brenda Masilela Time of article published Sep 1, 2016

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Limpopo - Proper birth registration has been identified as a major tool in the fight to prevent child trafficking and other social ills that include child labour, illegal adoption and sexual exploitation.

Limpopo MEC of health DR Phophi Ramathuba made these remarks on Wednesday during her visit to Seshego Hospital, where she witnessed the birth registration process and the immediate issuing of birth certificates.

“Early birth registration provides reliable and timely information and data to other agencies such as health, education, social services, electoral services and research institutions,” said Ramathuba.

“The basic purpose of birth registration, which is facilitated by the Department of Home Affairs is to disclose facts, veracity, legality.

“Individuals can be assured of the legitimacy and authenticity of civil status through public registration documents known as birth certificates.”

The efficiency at Seshego Hospital in registering births and issuing of birth certificates has been noted by Brand South Africa, which is currently highlighting outstanding enterprises, departments and organisations as part of its mandate to promote the image of the country.

Although the law prescribes that the birth certificate must be obtained within 30 days, the MEC said the hospital and home affairs were so efficient they did it “on the spot”.

“It’s free and a certificate is available on the spot. Such guarantees access to various government services,” said Ramathuba.

“Fees are applicable in the case of late registration of birth. A scale of penalty fee is established in relation to the length of delay, age of person. The penalty fee is yet to be approved.”

However, the MEC said in some instances they faced challenges when attempting immediate birth registrations which included cases where children had been separated from or had lost their parents, religious, cultural beliefs and practices on the naming of the child.

Home births and children born to non SA citizens that were in the country illegally and inaccessibility of remote border areas and informal settlements posed further issues.

The Department of Home Affairs’ Chief Director for Births, Marriages and Deaths, Dr Aaron Ramodumo, said that without birth registration and documentation, children may have problems proving their existence to the State.

“It is through our footprint extension into health facilities that we can achieve 100% birth registration within the prescribed 30 days … It is a constitutional right of every child to a have a name and nationality from birth,” said Ramodumo.

Manusha Pillai, the general manager of communications at Brand South Africa, said early registration of birth was a key programme to ensure proper planning to meet the needs of people.

“It is critical that the national population register has integrity and is secure. Early registration of birth is therefore a key programme to contribute to the development of the South African Nation Brand,” said Pillai, whose organisation is charged with enhancing South Africa’s reputation at home and abroad.

African News Agency

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