MEDIA ALERT: When the government fails you all your life!

The right to a name and nationality is one of the most fundamental human right, however, a lot of children in South Africa spend much of their lives without this legal identity and the benefits and protections it affords. Children who are not registered do not officially exist.
Njabulo** was only two years old, when he was found abandoned in Moroka, Soweto. A foster mother, Ms Ntuli** took him and his 2 brothers in, to care for them. Because, Njabulo and his brothers were not registered/no birth certificate was found with them, Ms Ntuli could not apply for a foster grant. Nonetheless she was willing to raise them on her own finances. When she attempted to register their births the system failed them, because there were no hospital birth records. As a result, Njabulo and his brothers remained undocumented and unable to access their citizenship.
On 15 November 2016 Njabulo passed away at the Edenvale Hospital. He was 25 years old already but his birth had never been registered. He approached Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) for assistance because he had not been able to access medical assistance from government hospitals without an ID. However, his situation deteriorated suddenly and he passed away after being admitted to Edenvale Hospital due to his severe condition. The Hospital is now refusing to release his remains to his brothers and friends who want to have a burial for him, because he has no form of identity.
The system has failed Njabulo. He should have been registered by a social worker at the Department of Home Affairs when he was found in terms of Section 12 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act regarding abandoned children. However, the Department and the Act often require strict compliance with excessive requirements like birth records even when the child was found with no records whatsoever.
We need to make sure that all children born and found in South Africa are registered and receive a birth certificate so they never have to suffer the humiliation and neglect that Njabulo has experienced even in death.
**Pseudo names were used to afford the family the privacy they deserve during this painful time
For more information contact Liesl Muller on 011 339 1960 or Carol Mohlala on 079 238 9826