SOUTH AFRICA

 

 

A well developed and functioning civil registration system ensures the registration of all vital events including births, marriages and deaths and issues relevant certificates as proof of such registration. Civil registration promotes efficient government planning, effective use of resources and aid, and more accurate monitoring of progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 

Legal framework for birth registration Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992, amended by the Birth and Death Registration Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 18 of 2010)
Official authorities in charge of registering births Department of Home Affairs (DHA)
Organizational structure Centralized
Is there a legal obligation to register the birth of a child? Yes
Is an official birth certificate issued as a result of birth registration? Yes, within one to two days
Legal informant to register a birth Parents, Guardian, Any other person legally responsible for the child
Time allowed for registration 30 days
Fee for birth registration No
Can the fee be increased or waived? No
Fee for birth certificate No
Penalty for late registration Yes
Other official fees involved in the birth registration process No
Requirements or fees specific to children who are eligible for citizenship but were born outside the country
Requirements or fees specific to children whose parents are foreign nationals No
Requirements for birth registration Identification of the child’s father, Identification of the child’s mother, Forenames and surname of the child
Information collected Regarding the child: Name, Date of birth, Date of registration, Place of occurrence, Type of place of occurrence (hospital, home, etc.), Sex

Regarding the mother of the child: Date of birth or age, Marital status, Ethnicity, Educational attainment, Place/country of birth, Children born alive to the mother during her entire lifetime, Birth order parity, Date of last previous live birth, Date of marriage

Regarding the father of the child: Date of birth or age, Marital status, Ethnicity, Educational attainment, Place/country of birth, Acknowledgment of paternity in regard to a child born out of wedlock

Processing Electronically (via computer or tablet)
Place of registration Civil registrar’s office, Place of occurrence of the birth
A birth certificate is required for: Identification, Travel, School enrolment/Matriculation
Process for establishing vital statistics on births Administrative data are sent by the DHA to Statistics South Africa. The files obtained from the DHA include:

– Births registered within 30 days;

– Births registered from 31 days to 364 days;

– Births registered from age 1 to 14 years;

– Births registered from 15 years;

– Births registered in health facilities;

– Births that occurred among South Africans outside of South Africa.

Download sample birth registration form

Data sources: Information on civil registration systems was compiled over a period from December 2016 to November 2017 using the existing relevant legal frameworks and in consultation with CRVS experts, officials within the relevant national institutions, and UNICEF country offices. All reasonable precautions have been taken by UNICEF to verify this country profile; updates will be made to reflect changes in policy and implementation and/or new information.

 

Legal framework for marriage registration Civil marriages are governed by the Marriage Act (No. 25, 1961) and regulations issued in terms of the Act. South Africa also recognizes customary marriages through the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (No. 120, 1998), which became effective in November 2000. Civil unions are recognized in terms of the Civil Union Act (2006).
Official authorities in charge of registering a marriage Department of Home Affairs (DHA)
Organizational structure Centralized
Legal age for marriage 18 years for both sexes

Exemptions: Girls under 18 years but older than 15 years need parental consent to marry; girls under age 15 need the consent of the Minister of Home Affairs.

Is there a legal obligation to register marriages? Yes
Is an official marriage certificate issued as a result of marriage registration?  Yes, immediately
Legal informant to register a marriage The marriage officer
Time allowed for registration Immediately for civil marriages and union; within 3 months for a customary marriage
Fee for marriage registration No
Can the fee be increased or waived? No
Fee for marriage certificate No
Penalty for late registration No
Other official fees involved in the marriage registration process No
Additional registration requirements or fees if one spouse was born outside the country or has dual citizenship Yes, foreign nationals marrying a South African citizen must present a valid passport.
Requirements for marriage registration Husband’s presence at registration, Wife’s presence at registration, Proof of wife’s age, Proof of husband’s age, Witness to the marriage, identity document of each spouse
Information collected Regarding the spouses: Date of birth or age of bride, Place of usual residence of bride, Date of birth or age of groom, Place of usual residence of groom

Regarding the marriage: Date of occurrence, Date of registration, Place of occurrence, Place of registration

Processing Electronically (via computer or tablet)
Place of registration Civil registrar’s office

Marriage officers authorized by law submit registrations to the local DHA office (place of occurrence of the marriage).

A marriage certificate is required for:
Process for establishing vital statistics on marriage Statistics South Africa publishes data on marriages for South African citizens and permanent residents, which are collected through the DHA’s civil registration systems. Before 2008, the data in the annual release on marriages and divorces (P0307) covered only civil marriages. However, in 2009, Statistics South Africa started publishing available data on customary marriages and civil unions. The registration of customary marriages and civil unions began in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

Download sample marriage registration form 

Data sources: Information on civil registration systems was compiled over a period from December 2016 to November 2017 using the existing relevant legal frameworks and in consultation with CRVS experts, officials within the relevant national institutions, and UNICEF country offices. All reasonable precautions have been taken by UNICEF to verify this country profile; updates will be made to reflect changes in policy and implementation and/or new information.

 

Legal framework for death registration Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1992, amended by the Birth and Death Registration Amendment Act, 2010 (Act No. 18 of 2010)
Official authorities in charge of registering a death Department of Home Affairs (DHA)
Organizational structure Centralized
Is there a legal obligation to register deaths? Yes
Is an official death certificate issued as a result of death registration?  Yes, immediately
Legal informant to register a death No specific requirement, can be a traditional leader in rural areas
Time allowed for registration 72 hours
Fee for death registration No
Can the fee be increased or waived? No
Fee for death certificate No
Penalty for late registration No
Other official fees involved in the death registration process No
Registration requirements or fees specific for the deaths of people who were residents in the country and also of foreign nationality No
Requirements for death registration Medical death certificate, Identification card, Date of death, Age at death, Birth certificate for a minor
Information collected Regarding the deceased: Name, Sex, Date of birth or age, Marital status, Place of usual residence

Regarding the death: Date of death, Date of registration, Place of occurrence, Place of registration, Cause of death, Certifier, Type of place of occurrence (hospital, home, etc.)

Information collected in case of fetal death Date of occurrence of fetal delivery, Date of registration, Place of occurrence, Place of registration, Type of place of occurrence (hospital, home, etc.), Sex of the fetus
Processing Electronically (via computer or tablet)
Place of registration Civil registrar’s office
A death certificate is required for: Cremation, Burial, Inheritance
Process for establishing vital statistics on deaths The statistical release is based on administrative records from death notification forms collected from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

There are two death notification forms currently being used by the DHA in registering deaths: Form BI-1663 and DHA-1663. Form BI-1663 is being replaced by form DHA-1663 but continues to be used in areas where it is still in stock.

The data elements in these two forms are largely comparable. However, the two forms differ mainly in the perinatal section, with the DHA-1663 form having a separate section for recording causes of death for perinatal deaths, whereas BI-1663 collects causes of death for all deaths in one section irrespective of age.

The completed death notification forms are obtained by Statistics South Africa for data processing and analysis of statistics on mortality and causes of death.

Download sample death registration form

Data sources: Information on civil registration systems was compiled over a period from December 2016 to November 2017 using the existing relevant legal frameworks and in consultation with CRVS experts, officials within the relevant national institutions, and UNICEF country offices. All reasonable precautions have been taken by UNICEF to verify this country profile; updates will be made to reflect changes in policy and implementation and/or new information.