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Martha Chauke and Ntlantla Matafeni are the paralegals from Dobsonville Human Rights Centre who discussed the topic, answering well thought questions from the ‘Exclusive Mzansi’ presenters Bongani and Awelani on the mid-day show.

Children, local and foreign face a lot of challenges due to lack of legal documents.  Where the child is undocumented, section 48(2) of the Children’s Act stipulates that the Children’s Court can estimate the age of the child, aided by the written motivation of a designated social worker. An investigation into the circumstances of the child, including any abuse, neglect or exploitation must be conducted and recorded and the findings together with a recommendation presented to the Court.

South Africa has arguably the most progressive child protection mechanisms in Africa. Those mechanisms are conferred and extended to foreign minor children within its borders. However, due to a lack of coordination between the various state departments entrusted with matters concerning foreign minors, the state has failed to fulfill its duties as required by national and international law. In some cases, there are duplicates in terms of birth certificates, ID numbers, names and ages of the children who reside in far apart provinces. It gets difficult to trace things like social grants, or who the real child is. The reality is, lack of proper child birth registration has a negative impact on Educational Attainment. Please listen to the live radio show on this topic accompanying this story.

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