Court orders registration of child of 'illegal foreigner'
Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A soldier who met his wife on a peacekeeping mission is helping create clarity on the issue of registering births of children born in South Africa to a South African parent and a foreign national, according to a TimesLIVE report. The Eastern Cape High Court (Grahamstown) last week ordered the Department of Home Affairs to register the birth of Lawrence Naki’s daughter. This was after the Legal Resources Centre challenged the Department of Home Affairs’ failure to register the child’s birth because the child’s mother did not have a valid visa and was considered an ‘illegal foreigner’. Naki‚ a South African citizen‚ works for the SA National Defence Force and met his wife when he was sent to the DRC on a peacekeeping mission. They have two children together – the older one is living in the DRC. Naki was unable to register the birth of his South African-born child‚ even though the child is a South African citizen in terms of the Citizenship Act. The court declared the department’s refusal to register the birth unlawful and invalid, ordering the Director-General of Home Affairs to take all necessary steps to ensure that the birth is registered and a birth certificate issued. However‚ the LRC said the court refused to pronounce on whether the department’s interpretation of the regulations was incorrect, thus refusing to make a finding on the constitutionality of the regulations. The court stated that it would prefer to hear the views of an amicus curiae on these issues. It has accordingly requested the Grahamstown Bar to appoint an amicus curiae.