Paternity Test Mandatory For Birth Certificate In South Africa? Country To Combat ‘Immorality’ By Forcing DNA Testing Of Newborns, Claims Hoax

DNA testing will soon become mandatory for parents in South Africa, claimed a news report based on an alleged interview with the country’s Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Malusi Gigab.

The local government has passed a law that mandates all newborns will have to undergo paternity test before they can receive birth certificates, reported multiple local South African news sites. Apparently, the compulsion to prove parentage is just one of the latest techniques the country is forcing on its citizens to curb the rising immorality in the society and limit illegal citizenship, justified the report.

However, the Department of Home Affairs has categorically denied any such policy and confirmed the news reports were part of an elaborate hoax. The department has not been able to find the true reason behind the false claims that seem to malign the political image of South Africa and its current government.

According to the hoax, all South African parents will have to conduct paternity tests on their newborns to confirm the baby’s parentage starting from next year. Without results attesting the baby is the result of a legalized union between a man and a woman, the parents won’t be handed the newborn’s birth certificate. Moreover, a positive DNA test will be required before the baby is allowed to take on the father’s surname.

The enormity of the hoax required the department to issue a statement that dismissed the false reports.

“We wish to categorically state that no such interview was ever conducted by the minister with what appears to be a fake website. The department will utilise official communication platforms to create awareness around any changes in policy should there be such pronouncements‚ including those made by the ministry.”

It is not clear why the hoax was perpetrated, but it soon went viral on social media. Surprisingly, a few early responders appeared to be in favor of the legislature. Quite a few comments were appreciative and supportive. The comments claimed that a few men were unwittingly raising kids that were not biologically related to them, hinting the wives were involved in illicit extramarital relationships.

Others merely grumbled that the latest piece of legislature will unnecessarily add to the extensive delays the citizens already face while procuring important government documents.

Interestingly, the news reports might have been fabricated, but they did have some iota of truth and were partially based on a “Births and Deaths” law that the Department of Home Affairs had announced in 2014. The department had asked for paternity tests to be conducted on kids, but the rule was restricted to children born out of wedlock and to couples in which the male was not a resident of South Africa.

Way back then, the DHA had justified the rule by saying, “We have been aware of cases where single mothers get involved in relationships with non-South African men and approach Home Affairs offices to record these persons as fathers of their children even if they are not the biological fathers. This is then used by such persons to address our Department for permanent residence status in the country due to the right that children have to be cared for by their parents. To this end, and where such a circumstance arises, we require the results of paternity tests. This is applicable to non-South Africans.”

Moreover, an application by a third-party male who wishes to care for the child as a father and replace the biological one must accompany a paternity test. The DHA stresses this formality merely ensures the correct listing of the child’s actual biological father.

Interestingly, there are quite a few children born out of wedlock in South Africa. Fortunately, though the law does record the identities of the newborns’ biological parents, it doesn’t mandate a paternity test when the parents decide to get married.

[Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/Getty Images]

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