South Africa: Heartbreak in Border Town As Home Affairs Ignores Birth Certificate Court Order

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For the past nine months, the Department of Home Affairs has ignored a court order compelling them to issue birth certificates to 24 children who live in towns bordering Lesotho without requiring their parents to pay thousands for DNA tests - because one parent is not South African.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) requires that a South African-born child cannot be registered if both parents do not have current identity documentation and if both are not present at the DHA office. They also require that the parents pay thousands of rands for DNA tests before the births of their children are registered. Grandparents who look after children must pay even more to provide the DHA with a positive "kinship DNA" test.

The above rule resulted in a class action case in the Makhanda High Court against the DHA, which was also aimed at helping 200 families who have been left in limbo because of government demands for expensive DNA tests for their children before they can be issued with birth certificates.

Among other things, the court ordered the DHA to pay for travel costs, accommodation and DNA tests, if this is what they require before registering a child. The...

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