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Here`s how matric learners without IDs can go about acquiring one to write their final exams

Source: Groundup, 22/07/2020

The court found that Section 29 of the Constitution protected the
right of all children to basic education, whether or not they had
official documentation, and that clauses 15 and 19 of the schools
Admission Policy for Ordinary Public Schools of 1998 were
unconstitutional.
Clause 15 required a parent to present the school with an official
birth certificate for the learner, and if the parent could not
present the birth certificate, the child could be admitted
conditionally until the certificate was obtained from Home
Affairs.
If the birth certificate was not forthcoming from Home Affairs
within 3 months, subsequently amended to 12 months, the learner
could be excluded from the school.
Clause 21, dealing with admission of non-citizens, required a
parent to prove that they had applied to Home Affairs to legalise
their stay in the country under the Aliens Control Act of 1991.
The judge found both clauses unconstitutional and said that
undocumented children should not be punished for the choices of
their parents or caregivers, and no child should be excluded from
an education, which was fundamentally important to the development
of the child and its future ability to become employed and live
with dignity.
The Education Department was interdicted from excluding or
removing any child, even illegal foreign children, after being
admitted to school simply because the child did not have an ID, a
birth certificate or other documentation.
Where a learner could not provide a birth certificate, school
principals were ordered to accept alternate proofs of identity
such as an affidavit or sworn statement by the parent, caregiver
or guardian.
Previously, learners had been excluded from schools and from
writing matric if they had not been able to produce documentation.
The court heard that there were almost a million undocumented
learners, of whom 87% were South African, whose parents had been
unable for various reasons to obtain documentation from Home
Affairs.
After the attempted suicide of a learner in 2018 who was told he
could not write his matric without an ID number, the Education
Department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said at the time: “There is no
child who cannot write because they don`t have an ID. No child
will be turned away. We will intervene.” In the case of
undocumented foreign learners, the Education Dept would “allow
these candidates to register to write the examination. But these
candidates will not have their results issued until they produce
the necessary documentation.”
Despite the 2019 Makhanda court ruling, whether undocumented
matric candidates will be issued with matric certificates is still
at issue.
Umalusi (the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further
Education and Training) is the body that issues matric
certificates.
In January 2020, the Umalusi spokesperson, Lucky Ditaunyane, said
that undocumented learners are issued with their matric
certificates with their date of birth rather than ID number. He
said that the certificate would be as good as one with an ID
number when applying for a job or for university.
But higher education institutions require a copy of the
applicant’s ID, as does the NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid
Scheme), so the road ahead is still a rocky one for undocumented
learners.
Elijah Mhlanga of the Basic Education department advised parents
to speedily apply to Home Affairs for assistance in obtaining IDs
as their children would continue to face problems if they were
undocumented. Without their own IDs parents cannot apply for
documents for their school-going children, nor open bank accounts
or access child support grants.
When applying for an ID, DHA Form B1-9 must be filled out in black
ink at Home Affairs. If there is no birth certificate, forms DHA-
24, DHA-24/A x 2 and DHA-288 must be filled in to register the
birth.
The problem is that Home Affairs is generally admitted to be
increasingly dysfunctional and takes an inordinately long time to
deal with applications.


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