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​​Avoid fraud and register births early


Issues such as applying for identity documents and birth certificates, as well as challenges regarding the late registration of births, came under sharp focus at a community engagement session hosted by the City of Johannesburg’s Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM) Department at the Bertha Solomon Recreation Centre in Jeppestown, Region F, at the weekend.
Matome “Ace” Malatsi, a Deputy Director-General at the Department of Home Affairs, was the main presenter at the meeting, attended by hundreds of residents from 11 of the region’s wards. Malatsi was supposed to share the stage with officials from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), but they did not make it because of unforeseen circumstances. Malatsi told the gathering about the department’s drive to eliminate the late registration of births (LBR) by December 31.

LBR is defined as any birth registered after 30 days. Possible reasons for late registrations include:

Deferring the naming of a child because of cultural reasons;
Mothers leaving healthcare facilities without registering the birth of their babies;
Mothers having no proof of birth, such as a clinic or hospital card, because they gave birth at home;
Mothers who themselves are not in possession of an identity document; and
Cases in which both parents do not have any valid form of identification.
Malatsi said this posed a serious security risk and exposed South Africa to possible fraudulent entries in the national population register.

He said the department was seeking to close this security gap by encouraging citizens to register all births within 30 days. This, he said, would help build a secure, accurate and credible national population register with a single point of entry.

“We have been given a mandate to reach out to underprivileged communities so that by the end of 2015 all people, including unregistered individuals, are able to get access to the services they need,” Malatsi said. Local resident Nomsombuloko Maseko, 55, said was happy she attended the session, saying she had gained a lot of “useful and invaluable information” from it.

According to Clr Mike Spadino-Pippa, chairman of the local Community Policing Forum (CPF) and of the local residents’ association, sessions such as this were important, especially in reaching out to the elderly.