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By Citizen Reporter


Maritzburg mother struggling for over 10 years with ‘ghost children’

She cannot get her real children's birth certificates because two kids she doesn't know are registered as her own.

An Imbali woman has been trying to get her children’s birth certificates for over 10 years with no luck.

Instead, she’s been told that two children she has never met are registered as hers at Home Affairs.

The woman said she was told by Home Affairs that her two children do not belong to her but there are other children who appear as hers in their system.

Her children, both girls, are aged nine and 14.

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She said the problem started when she went to apply for her identity document.

“When it was time for me to collect it, I could not get it and I was told to reapply. When it was time for me to apply for birth certificates for my children I was told that they already have birth certificates.

I do not know those children they are talking about. I was told they are from Port Shepstone and Underberg. Those children are not mine and I do not how they ended up listed as my children at Home Affairs.

The woman said she has been trying to sort out this problem for over 10 years with no luck. She said she even went as far as going back to the hospital where she gave birth to get a letter confirming the identity of her children.

“The worst part is that the children they say belong to me have different birth dates from my children. The only thing they share is the year they were born. The nine-year-old is also a boy, and I do not have a boy child. This is painful because I have been trying to get help. The older child will have to get an identity document soon and she does not even have a birth certificate.”

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She said her daughters are experiencing issues at school without birth certificates.

“I have been told that next year before the first term ends they must have birth certificates. I just want this sorted so that we can continue with our lives like other people.”

Home Affair’s ‘ghost children’ problem

Home Affairs Pietermaritzburg office spokesperson Xolani Maphumulo said lately he has been dealing with incidents where women register “ghost children” to claim Sassa grants.

He said he needs to have a meeting with the applicant or complainant to find out what happened.

“Now that the grant has been stopped due to age or they want to register their real children, they find that their ‘ghost children’ which were registered fraudulently are preventing the registration of real children.

“This is because the system recognises that the mother already has a child of the same age and cannot have another child separated by less than nine months of normal pregnancy.” Maphumulo said this was why they needed to interview the complainant and get to the bottom of how she has “ghost children”.

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