31 January 2013

South Africa: Home Affairs to Issue Unabridged Birth Certificates On the Spot

press release

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media.

As this is our first formal media briefing for the year, may I take this opportunity to wish you a successful and prosperous 2013 and to thank you for joining us this morning. As you have been briefed, our interaction today will focus mainly on the issue of unabridged birth certificates that we shall now be issuing on the spot.

As a government department, one of our main functions is to issue secure, credible and accurate birth certificates and ID documents to all our people.

As part of this process, the department undertook a review of the Birth and Death Act (1992) as well as the Citizenship Act (1995) which culminated in the South African Citizenship Amendment Act 2010. We are ready to effect and implement these amendments.

I am accordingly pleased to announce that from 4 March 2013 the Department of Home Affairs will end the practice of issuing abridged birth certificate and will only issue unabridged birth certificates to parents of newborn babies.

The current abridged birth certificate suffers from the following failures:

It is easy to reproduce illegally.

It contains only the name and ID number of the newborn baby and the mother.

It resulted in the creation of additional paper records when we seek to move towards a paperless department

It takes 6-8 weeks to produce.

In contrast, the unabridged birth certificate, which will be issued on the spot at no cost, will:

Minimise turnaround time and ensure speedy, efficient and accurate service delivery.

Be more secure and reliable with added information. It will contain particulars of both parents and their Identity Documents numbers.

Support our efforts to create a paperless Home Affairs since only one document will be issued per birth. The previous certificate meant parents had to return to Home Affairs to get an unabridged birth certificate.

Support our efforts towards securing the National Population Register.

We are able to issue unabridged birth certificates as a result of the current IT modernisation project that is aimed at enhancing service delivery levels through the modernisation of our systems.

We will in the next few weeks, work with our partners in the media, stakeholder forums and our staff throughout the country and together embark on a public awareness programme to inform and educate everyone about this unabridged birth certificate.

Issued by: Department of Home Affairs

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