Answer to a question from a reader

Home Affairs won't allow me to apply for an ID. What must I do?

The short answer

You might need legal assistance.

The whole question

I have tried to apply for an ID at Home Affairs several times, but all my attempts have been unsuccessful because they need a copy of my mother's ID. The problem is that I don't know who my mother is because I was raised by my father. I have also tried to approach Home Affairs with my birth certificate and school records but without success. What should I do?

The long answer

The Home Affairs website says: “All first time applicants must be accompanied by their parents or one of the parents when applying for an ID card. The parents /legal guardians of first time applicants must bring along a certified copy of their IDs as well.”

But according to an article of 31 January 2018 in Parent24, it says that when you apply for your ID you need a certified copy of one of your parents or legal guardian’s ID. So there is some confusion here.

Can your father go with you to Home Affairs? Can you get a certified copy of his ID? It may also be a good idea for him to make a sworn affidavit that you have grown up without your mother and that he does not know where your mother is.

But if this does not succeed, you could approach one of the following organisations which have a lot of experience in dealing with Home Affairs, and ask for their assistance. You should take all the documents including a certified copy of your father’s ID, the affidavit (if he makes one), your birth certificate and school attendance records.

You can contact them here:  

Legal Resources Centre
Tel: Cape Town: 021 481 3000
Tel: Johannesburg: 011 836 9831  

Lawyers for Human Rights
Tel: Cape Town: 021 424 8561
Johannesburg Office and law clinic
Tel: 011 339 1960

Answered on July 6, 2020, 8:47 a.m.

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