The number of children who grow up without birth certificates is on the increase in the Free State. This is according to the recently appointed Provincial Manager at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in the Free State, Thabang Kheswa.
Kheswa says that often the problem comes when the children reach school attending age. “We’ve found that with many of these children, either both their parents are foreigners living in South Africa and are unable to get the relevant papers for their children.
“In other instances one of the parents is a foreigner while the other is a South African. There are also instances where both parents are South African, but for some reason the children are unable to receive birth certificates,” Kheswa said.
He said the fact that the process at the Department of Home Affairs is so lengthy with regards to cases like these, makes matters even worse.
“Fortunately, the Department of Basic Education does understand and often tries to help these children as far as possible with regards to getting them enrolled in schools. However they can only help them until a certain point and past that point, the children need relevant papers to be in school,” Kheswa added.
He says as this is a national issue and not only a provincial issue, the commission is working on intervening as a human rights organization so it can work with the government on policies that deal with human rights.
The commission is also working on a plan to intervene on these policies, particularly with regards to the laws on children, among others.
Kheswa was speaking at a media engagement in Bloemfontein on Thursday 8 February. The engagement served to introduce him as the new Provincial Manager at the SAHRC and also to reveal how the commission is doing with regards to its Revised Strategic Plan For 2015 to 2020 fiscal years.
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