Home Affairs dealing with unabridged birth certificate backlog

Johannesburg – The Department of Home Affairs is left with 800 of the 4 000 applications for unabridged birth certificates to clear with two days to go until the new regulations for travelling with children is implemented.

Earlier this week Director-General of Home Affairs Mkuseli Apleni announced that the department had a backlog of around 4 000 applications.

“For smooth implementation, we are pulling out all the stops and are now left with only 800 applications to clear,” he said on Friday.

“The 800 applications include where supporting documents are not available. We will continue sending reminders through text messages. Since people change their numbers from time to time, we have explored other mechanisms for reaching them.

Apleni said those who had applied for the unabridged birth certificate and were planning to travel, but had not yet received their documents would have to go to Home Affairs and ask for a document that will allow them to travel with children.

“I must reiterate that where both parents are travelling with valid passports and visas, the unabridged birth certificate is not a requirement since these additional documents would have been provided when applications were made for passports and visas.

“It is where one parent or another person is travelling with somebody else’s child that we require valid passports, an unabridged birth certificate, and parental consent affidavits,” he said.

New regulations on Monday

People from other countries which were not visa-exempt did not have to have an unabridged birth certificate.

The new regulations would be implemented on Monday.

Apleni said he could not understand claims that the new requirements were unique and not applicable elsewhere or that it would have an effect on tourism and the economy.

“Our regulations were benchmarked even with countries attracting more tourists.

“South African citizens are also required to have these documents when going to some countries of the world.

“It was also due to requirements expected of our citizens by other countries that we decided to move towards issuing the unabridged birth certificate with the child’s and parent(s) particulars in it,” he said.

Apleni clarified issues raised regarding the language in which the documents would be issued.

He said no translations from travellers would be needed. Immigration officers would have specimens at the ports of entry for verification.