Proof of paternity may not be enough to register fathers in South Africa

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is challenging sections of the Birth and Death Registrations Act which allows the fathers of children born out of wedlock to decide whether they can be registered as the father and if the child can carry their surname.

As the Act stands, it stipulates the following:

  • The father’s written consent and physical presence is required by Home Affairs officials in order for them to be registered as a father – even if a paternity test has already confirmed this.

  • A child could not be registered with a surname other than the mother’s, unless the father has consented.

  • In the absence of this consent, the father will be documented as unknown.

Challenging the legislation

Tammy Carter, who is the senior legal services officer at the SAHRC, says that the problem with the law is that it is inconsistent with Constitutional standards of equality and with the rights of children and women.

Home Affairs are bound by the provisions of The Act and cannot make any corrections to birth certificates not outlined by the existing law. On Tuesday, 14 April, together with the Center for Child Law and Women’s Legal Center, the SAHRC are taking Section 10 and 11 to be reviewed in court.

National Spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, Mayihlome Tshwete says that the department is relooking the stance of the legislation. He advised that they are considering changing the standard operating procedures by Home Affairs officials to accommodate for concessions.

Home Affairs is also advocating for a better family tree in South Africa; to know the mother and the father of a child.

Listeners share their views

Kevin in Bedforview, from an organisation called Fathers in Africa (that he says often works closely with Sonke Gender Justice), expressed that this was a gender equality issue. H e says that women are not given the choice to go unnamed on birth certificates.

Why do we give fathers the right to abdicate responsibility, when they have clearly impregnated somebody? What the law is saying is that you can choose not to be the father of the child.

Lesley in Saxonwold says that there should be different categories of registration for different parental relationships that fathers may choose to have with their children.

Listen to the full conversation on the Redi Tlhabi show:

Read More
The chilling tale of Marikana told through song

The chilling tale of Marikana told through song

'Marikana - The Musical' Aubrey Sekhabi's adaptation of a novel by journos entitled “We are going to kill each other today".

An expert guide on 'hotwifing' and 'cuckolding' in the bedroom

An expert guide on 'hotwifing' and 'cuckolding' in the bedroom

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve shares insights into sexual fetishes and how partners negotiate them in their bedroom and relationship.

The Naked Scientist reveals how birds are able to find their way around

The Naked Scientist reveals how birds are able to find their way around

Every week The Naked Scientist offers listeners the opportunity to probe his brain on anything weird and quirky.

Jay Naidoo: Organised communities have the power to create change

Jay Naidoo: Organised communities have the power to create change

Social activist Jay Naidoo has written a book which explores the power of human connection and social activism.

Local bee farming company Native Nosi creating a buzz with raw honey

Local bee farming company Native Nosi creating a buzz with raw honey

Native Nosi owner Mokgadi Mabela says over 50% of honey sold in SA is imported and she wants to change the business landscape.

How do we ensure the safety of women in South Africa?

How do we ensure the safety of women in South Africa?

Women's Legal Centre and POWA discuss ways to ensuring the legal system stops failing women of South Africa.

Popular articles
It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane explains how Sfiso Ncwane died

Makhabane says Ncwane was feeling weak yesterday and his wife phoned paramedics to check on him.

How Naspers paid peanuts for Tencent (China’s most valuable company)

How Naspers paid peanuts for Tencent (China’s most valuable company)

In 2001 Naspers invested $32 million in (then tiny) Tencent. Learn more about the wildly profitable Chinese behemoth...

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will pilot a new funding model in 2017. NSFAS chairperson Sizwe Nxasana explains.