Petition for the Department of Home Affairs to cater for stateless matrics
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Cape Town – A heartbroken matriculant from Kensington High School initiated a petition to request that the Department of Home Affairs establish a matric ID or citizenship helpline for stateless children who are yet to write their finals.
Born in South Africa to foreign national parents, Karolyn Mujinga, 18, has an unabridged birth certificate without an ID.
“For the past two years, I’ve tried several times to apply for an ID, however the results has always been unsuccessful. Currently, I only have my unabridged birth certificate and that is not deemed valid anywhere.”
“With my petition I am calling on the Department of Home Affairs to create a citizenship helpline or provision for South African born refugees in South Africa to be able to apply for citizenship, so that I and many others like me can have equal opportunities,” Mujinga said.
More than 13 000 people have signed the petition to draw attention to the inequality that adversely affects the future of stateless children.
The petition letter reads that, in 2014, the Department of Home Affairs set up a Matric ID helpline and this was to expedite ID applications so matriculants could receive their ID in time for their exams.
However this year, the Department of Home Affairs only made provision for South Africans who have valid documentation to apply for their ID, and not undocumented South Africans who were born to refugee parents, who’ve waited until they turned 18 (which is a requirement) to apply for citizenship. Additionally, the citizenship section remained closed since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This is a complete disregard of our situation and it leaves stateless matriculants' future in limbo. Every matric learner in South Africa is being accommodated for, yet our basic right to equal education and opportunity is being overlooked during these unprecedented times.”
“Those who are undocumented waited until they had to reach matric to get their IDs, however this is currently not the case. All I am asking is for us to be treated equally. Our right to education is being violated and no provision has been made or a helpline has been created to cater for stateless children during the lockdown. Must we wait until Covid-19 disappears for us to be accommodated in the system?” Mujinga said.
The Department of Home Affairs was contacted for comment and Home Affairs spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza said that the matter is being investigated.