ID blitz underway, citizens still struggle to acquire documents
Despite the decentralisation of the civil registry services, some citizens are still having difficulty acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards (IDs) due to certain conditions, much to the dismay of scores of national document searchers who were hoping to take advantage of the ongoing blitz.
The Civil Registry Department is conducting a countrywide mobile registration for the issuance of IDs and birth certificates to complement the ongoing voter registration blitz which ends on March 21, 2023.
Although the exercise appears to have been well received, some residents have expressed concern that the issuing officers at the mobile centres are of ‘little’ assistance because they still require certain papers or the presence of relatives that they do not have.
CITE spoke with a young man at Vulindlela Primary School in Cowdray Park who said that his orphaned wife had been denied a national ID because she did not have one of her parents’ IDs.
“My wife’s father died and she did not grow up with her mother. She brought her father’s death certificate but the officers here said she must bring her mother’s ID. She does not have that since I am her spouse, I presented myself to show she is now under my care. The officers said in that case, she must look for her mother’s relatives, where will she find them when she was raised by her father,” fumed the man.
“Such actions show us that they don’t want to help us. They always say the country must be led by the youth but how will the youth develop? We want to vote but my wife cannot vote now.”
The young man suggested that the registry office must evaluate individuals’ circumstances in order to better understand how they might assist them.
“We came here as a group, organised transport from Fusi in Luveve to Cowdray Park. Now we have wasted fuel, time and we are hungry. All these are costs,” he said, claiming the registry officers had been rude to him even though he had humbled himself.
A man in his 40s stated that he has been unable to obtain a birth certificate for his child born in South Africa for a long time.
“I have a birth record but the mother’s particulars are wanted and I don’t have them. The mother of the child sent the child home by omalayitsha (cross border transporters) and is taken care of by her grandmother. The registry says I must prove that I am the father or bring the mother’s relatives. Perhaps the registry should also conduct DNA testing as well so they can confirm she is my child,” he said.
The man stated his daughter was already in Grade Six and would need to register for Grade Seven national examinations next year, therefore obtaining a birth certificate was critical.
One 40-year-old man, on the other hand, was overjoyed to have his lost ID replaced.
“I lost my ID last year and I had to bring a lost property form, a photocopy of the ID if I had it or a passport copy plus my birth certificate,” he said.
Two young men from Saucerstown Suburb claimed they were referred to the Provincial Registration Office at Montgomery Hall because they required police reports proving they had lost their IDs.
“My wallet was stolen,” said a 20 year old Kelvin while 19-year-old Brian said he had lost his.
Two women in their late 20s claimed they could not acquire their IDs at that particular mobile centre because they first had to wait for their fingerprints to come out.
The other said her birth certificate had a stain on it, while the other claimed the birth certificate was written with a pen.
Lack of identity documentation has effectively hampered their ability to live, work or travel and has occasionally threatened their ability to access necessary medical treatment and educational services, as well as reunite with other family members.