On Tuesday in Parliament during the Home Affairs briefing, Fatima Chohan the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs said the department of Home Affairs wants to make late birth registrations tough in order to get rid of failed asylum seekers who try their luck for South African citizenship.
Chohan said the screening will be made difficult since most of the people taking up late registration are failed asylum seekers who have not left South Africa.
She pointed out that there had been situations in which people who are 80 years of age had received an identity document for the first time. Therefore this facility was meant to assist those who during apartheid didn’t register their identity documents. Chohan added that people are abusing this service, which was offered as people claimed that they didn’t have birth records and they were unable to obtain death certificates because their parents died. “We have to go by what they say. We have to… try to verify the information they give… Then sometimes they bribe some South Africans to say, ‘Well I am this person’s aunt’,” said Chohan.
She went on to say the government has played its part to assist the people. She said the government has done it by making it possible to register births at hospitals and bringing to 704 527 the number of births registered within 30 days of birth during the review period of 2014/15, thus making it to be above 694 000 births, which was the target, registered within 30 days of birth.
Chohan continued to say the closing of the Port Elizabeth refugee reception centre was as a result of the exploitation of the services of home affairs. She said a syndicate had been uncovered, that flies non-South Africans into Port Elizabeth. She also said it was like a tourist bus and they got off the plane, threw their passports away and went to the refugee reception centre in Port Elizabeth.
Chohan added that refugee reception centres must be positioned at the South Africa’s borders to avert people who don’t have proper documents from being arrested and deported while on their way to apply for refugee papers.