Good morning to all the ladies and gentlemen of the Media.
This is the first time we meet this year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a successful and prosperous 2013 although the year is getting rather old and I am sure you’ve been very active but let my good wishes go with that activity for this time
What we are hoping to do today is really to focus primarily on the matter of the unabridged birth certificate which we will now been issuing on the spot to all South Africans. As I indicated when we met last year, we are going to be implementing the new Citizenship Act, and as provisions and this one of more important activities associated with that new act.
One of our main functions as a department is to issue secure credible and accurate birth certificates and ID documents to all the people of South Africa. And many ofyou who know our history, know that for the majority in this country the issue of identity and particularly possession of official documents for communities that were oppressed was a particular neglect of the former apartheid state.
So, our creation of National Population Register and all the endeavours were put toward that, are designed to overcome this history, and ensure that every person in our country is secure in terms of their identity and has the appropriate documents that allow them to live a normal life as it exist in any society in the world.
We under took as part of this process of enhancing our national population register a review of Birth and Death Act of 1992 as well as the Citizenship Act of 1995. And this process of review culminated in the amended South African Citizenship Act of 2010. We are now to a point where we are ready to implement the amendments.
And I am pleased to announce and ask you to help me in announcing to the people of South Africa, that from the 4th of 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 new born babies.
Now, in some countries, they speak of abridged birth certificate and an unabridged one is called a full birth certificate. We call it unabridged in South Africa, andessentially what that means is unabridged birth certificate contains the details of the child, mother, father and their identity numbers. This is the new practice that we will be putting in place.
The current abridged that is the short form birth certificate suffers from the following failures and defects in terms of what we are seeking to achieve. It is easy to reproduce illegally, you can copy it fairly easily, it contains only the name and IDnumbers of the new born baby and the mother, doesn’t have the other parent recorded on the certificate and of course it increased the creation of additional paper records when we are trying to move as a department to a paperless department, we are trying to use technology more and more appropriately. Trying to reduce the number of papers persons have. So, we don’t want people to have the abridged birth certificate, then when they wish to insert the father’s details they come back to get the unabridged birth certificate then they have two certificates difficult to find we have loads of records far too much paper so we are trying to create this new paperless environment.
We also use to take rather long to issue this certificate and we now want to move to a speedier process. So with the new certificate, the unabridged which will be issued on the spot, we will be ensuring that we improve our turnaround times and that we ensure speedy efficient and accurate service delivery. Something we really striving to achieve as the department.
We will of course issue the certificates at no cost to the parents. It will be more secure and reliable with added security features and information. It will contain particulars of both parents as well as their identity numbers. It will support our efforts to create a paperless Home Affairs, since only one document will be issued per birth.
The previous certificates meant we have parents coming back to Home Affairs in order to get unabridged birth certificate as I said, and what would happen it will a long queues and then again it was just a difficulty and an irritation for our clients.
It will also help us to have a more secure national population register because of the security improvements we are then more confident that actually we are not going to get persons registering person not born in South Africa altering the certificates and data on it.
We are able to move to this new process of unabridged birth certificates as result of our current IT modernisation project which is aimed at enhancing service delivery levels, through the modernisation of our systems.
I really want to move us to a digital environment as a department, because I think the advent of a fully modern technology based ,department will assist the department of Home Affairs improving a great deal of its service delivery achievements and putting us in a top rank of departments that use technology effectively .
We hope that in the next weeks, you will agree to work with us as partners in order to support us along with our stakeholder forums and our officials throughout the country in embarking on a public awareness campaign, to inform and educate everyone about this new unabridged birth certificate. We would like you to put out there this information, and this is why we’ve called you and those of you who write a really good story will work with you on a media campaign.
(Demonstration of certificate)
Then, we will have a certificate with information of one of the parents if it is the choice of some parents that they don’t wish to have the names say of the father or some other details. It will also have much more information than we have on the current birth certificate.
Then you may have a case of orphans who may not have parent records availableand who are now adopted by the new set of parent or guardian, this form will be used for them. So this will be the look of the certificates that will form part of the media campaign that we are going to initiate in the next few weeks leading up to the 4th of March.
We would like all South Africans to be aware of these changes, our stake holder forum and all the communities in which we have them will be running an advocacy campaign on our behalf. We will utilise the media as well, in order to assist us so that it is not a surprise to any person that may have this changes.
Thank you very much.