The African Diaspora Forum (ADF), an umbrella body representing African migrant communities living in South Africa, is set to meet with South African government officials to discuss ways in which Zimbabwean migrants without proper documentation can be absorbed into the education system in that country.
According to proposed amendments to the Births and Deaths Registration Act, South Africa will discontinue birth certificates to foreign children and will only issue confirmation of birth.
Zimbabwe is one of the African countries with a high number of undocumented migrants living in South Africa whose children face difficulties in enrolling in schools.
In an interview with CITE, ADF Chairperson Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda, said the new South African regulations meant children born to migrants would not easily be admitted into South African schools due to lack of documentation as their status becomes irregular even if born to documented parents.
“This means children of asylum seekers and refugees who cannot go back to their countries are in worse situations because they have no means of receiving anything from their parent countries. This means 2019 will be a very busy year for the migrant community to try and secure their stay and access to services in South Africa and particularly education for children,” he said.
Due to this development, the ADF has sought an audience with the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga on the matter.
Dr Sibanda hoped the meeting would take place early next year in order to facilitate education rights for migrant children.
“The law now makes it difficult for students without IDs to write matric and this means the many years of schooling could and as has already happened yield to nothing. It is with this in mind that we are appealing to all migrants whose children cannot go to school or have been removed from schools due to lack of papers or failed to write matric because they did not have IDs, to contact our office as we map a way forward.
“We have already sought an audience with the Minister of basic education on this matter and hopefully this meeting will take place before year end or a least as early as the New Year begins,” he explained.
The ADF chair said the organisation was also in the process of gathering information on similar challenges faced by migrant students at tertiary institutions, as it is alleged, they are required to pay 70 percent of the fees as they start their studies.
“We are hoping for an audience that will make sure being a migrant does not mean learners must therefore pay more. People are ordinarily trying to make their children access the best education and charging these exorbitant prices seems as means of depriving them of the education without a just cause and surely this constitutes unfair discrimination in our view,” Dr Sibanda claimed.