Remarks by Minister Malusi Gigaba on the occasion of the signing of the partnership agreement between the Department of Home Affairs and Procter & Gamble at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto
A few years ago, in 2012, we hosted the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Conference in Durban where African Ministers responsible for civil registration gathered to declare our commitment towards developing and strengthening the continent’s birth registration systems.
It was at this important meeting where we all affirmed the significance of civil registration and agreed to deal a serious blow to what is known as the Scandal of Invisibility – a phenomenon where people are born and die without leaving behind any trace of their existence legally.
It is critically important to note that Africa comes from a dark past where those who oppressed us sought to deny our existence systematically by excluding us from claiming our birth-right through citizenship assertion and implemented largely fragmented and isolation-oriented policies that perpetuated the marginalisation of the majority of our people.
It is therefore encouraging that the South African government, through the Department of Home Affairs, has prioritised civil registration.
Our policies and legislation, in this regard, have been developed to continue to bolster our resolve towards achieving an improved and efficient civil registration.
In South Africa, the right to a name, identity, citizenship and to be registered at birth is a universal human right and is guaranteed in section 28 of the Constitution.
According to the Births and Deaths Registration Act, any South African citizen or foreign visiting parents must give notice of the birth of their child within 30 days.
In developed countries, civil registration is something that has been entrenched and practiced routinely.