Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

THE Department of Home Affairs says abridged birth certificates will no longer be issued for children born after March 4, in an effort to protect the integrity of the National Population Register.

Addressing a media briefing on Thursday morning in Pretoria, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said that for far too long the register had been vulnerable. The birth registration system was easily manipulated and birth certificates forged to help register illegal immigrants.

She said the new system, which would be launched nationally in the next few weeks, would ensure that the register could not be manipulated as it had proper security features in place and was accurate.

She said abridged birth certificates were easy to reproduce illegally; contained only the name and identity number of the newborn baby and mother; and created additional paper records. The department is working towards a paperless workplace.

In contrast, the unabridged birth certificate could be issued on the spot, at no cost, as opposed to the six- to eight-week process involved in generating the abridged one. It would minimise turnaround time and "ensure speedy, efficient and accurate service delivery", she said.

Further, the minister said the new system would contain additional information that would help track the family tree. It would include the particulars of both parents, and their identity numbers.

Previously, parents had to return to the department to obtain the unabridged birth certificate.

Home affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said there would be three versions of the new birth certificate: the first would record both the parents’ and the child’s identity numbers; the second would be for single parents and would not reflect the details of the other parent; and the third would be for orphaned or adopted children and would reflect the adoptive parents’ details.

"We hope that all parents would want to ensure they register their details, because that would assist those who want to safeguard their interests, for example, ensuring that their children’s rights are safeguarded during the administering of their estates," he said.

Further, he said it was not yet legal to force fathers to be included on the birth certificate, but the department strongly advised parents to do so for the child’s sake.

"Only Parliament has powers to legislate in a manner that would insist both parents be included, but we hope parents would see the wisdom of including their details," he said.