‘Home affairs official who defaced birth certificate acted improperly,’ says Mkhwebane

Mkhwebane found the child had SA citizenship because his father was South African and said that home affairs had erred by not investigating the complaint.
Home affairs has two weeks to reinstate the ID number of a four-year-old child born in Polokwane and issue him with a new birth certificate.
This is in terms of a directive issued by the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, her office said on Friday.
“The father and his child were improperly prejudiced by the conduct of the department,” spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said.
The child’s father complained after his son’s birth certificate was revoked by the Lebowakgomo home affairs office without reasons being provided.
“The father is a South African citizen. He had the child with a Zimbabwean national, who held a permanent residence permit … when the child was born on December 11 2014,” Segalwe said.
The father alleged home affairs issued the birth certificate on January 5 2015 but when he approached Sassa to apply for a child support grant he was referred back to home affairs to confirm the validity of the certificate.
“On arrival at the department’s Lebowakgomo office, an official allegedly defaced the certificate of the child by writing the words ‘cancelled’ across the certificate. The official then advised the father that she was cancelling the certificate on the department’s system,” Segalwe said.
Mkhwebane found the child had SA citizenship because his father was South African and said that home affairs had erred by not investigating the complaint.
“The cancellation of the child’s certificate accompanied by the request that the father undertake a paternity test were improper and had no basis in law,” Segalwe said.
Mkhwebane directed that home affairs must within two weeks:
• Reinstate the ID number;
• Reissue the birth certificate; and
• The acting DG must apologise in writing.
“The acting director-general must also ensure that an internal investigation is conducted to ascertain the identity of the official who destroyed the child’s birth certificate and take appropriate action within 60 working days and that staff at the Lebowakgomo office are trained on departmental prescripts and the provisions of PAJA within 90 working days of this report to avoid recurrence of this matter,” Segalwe said.

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