- ConCourt hears arguments for fathers to have right to register birth of child
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) is hearing from the Centre for Child Law which argues that a father should have the right to register the birth of his child.
The centre is seeking an order to confirm a previous judgment which found that it was unconstitutional to bar an unmarried father from securing a birth certificate for his son or daughter.
Currently, Section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act states that a child born to an unmarried couple automatically receives the mother’s surname.
Both parents are needed to consent to the child carrying the father’s surname.
The Centre for Child Law said that children who were not registered at Home Affairs soon after they were born are often deprived of basic rights and services.
The law states that the mother of a child has to give consent for him or her to be registered in the unmarried father’s name.
However, in some instances, the mother may be deceased, absent, undocumented or cannot be located.
But Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has a number of concerns, one being that without proper checks and balances in place it could open the door for child trafficking.
“It is not just wild discrimination, we want to make sure that the one claiming to be the father is the father, otherwise we’ll easily get children with fathers that leave the country with them and do whatever they want to do with them.”
Suggestions have been made that could solve this problem to make sure that the checks are in place, one being a DNA test and another involving credible family confirmation of the father’s relationship with a child.