Port Elizabeth couple discover on child's birth certificate woman is 'married' to a foreigner

BY AFIKILE LUGUNYA - JUNE 5, 2017
Port Elizabeth couple discover on child's birth certificate woman is 'married' to a foreigner

For one Port Elizabeth family, life over the past few months, has been nothing but a nightmare. This is after the couple learnt on their child's birth certificate that the woman is apparently married to a stranger, she says she has never met in her life.

According to Chris Toni*, his girlfriend, who is originally from Qumbu, in the former Transkei, came to Port Elizabeth to look for a job about five years ago and stayed with her relatives in Motherwell.

He described to RNEWS that some time during her stay, she woke up one morning and could not find copies of her Curriculum Vitae, which had all her details. It was strange but, she reportedly didn’t pay attention to it because things get lost all the time.

So, she made new copies and continued with her job search and life went on.

She later met Toni and in December 2016, she gave birth to their child.

"On the 19th of December, she gave birth to our child and a birth certificate was made. But to our surprise, the father of the child written on the birth certificate was someone else - not me," he described.

He said that they thought it was probably a misprint by the Department of Home Affairs so they sent back the certificate hoping for a correction.

When the 'corrected' version came back, it still had the same name.

“When we tried to get clarity from Home Affairs, they told us that no mistake had occurred with the first print," he explained.

"They told us that my girlfriend is apparently married to a foreign guy that she says she has never met.”

Toni said that, desparate for answers, the couple turned to the police.

“We reported the case at Klery Park (Malabar) police station, where we were given a case number and told that an investigation was being conducted," he said.

The police also advised the couple to go back to Home Affairs to get more clarity on how to resolve the matter.

Toni said that they did go back to Home Affairs.

"They took our fingerprints and four copies of our ID documents, but again the child’s birth certificate came back as it was," he told RNEWS.

He said that a Home Affairs official, who was helping them, advised them to bring the child’s certificate, affidavits, four ID documents and to make report about what happened.

He said that when they went back to Home Affairs with the documents, they were turned away by another official, who told them that they must just accept that his girlfriend is married to a stranger.

“The thought of my child using a Muhammed surname doesn’t sit well with me, because that Muhammed committed fraud using the name and ID number of my woman without her consent and the Home Affairs people have the nerve to say that she must just accept that she’s married,” an angry Toni told RNEWS.

He said that he heard of stories of how unscrupulous Home Affairs officials sell South African citizenship by marrying local women to foreigners without their knowledge or accept bribes from foreigners seeking residency through fake marriages, but never thought it could happen to him and his girlfriend.

“They get a lot of money to do this; why else would they force us to accept that she is married to a person she doesn’t even know. Maybe they are afraid that we are going to expose them for their fraud," said Toni.

He said that the couple had planned to marry as soon as their child was born, but now they cannot do anything until they solve the matter of his child having a foreign surname.

Toni said that they have are hoping the Department of Home Affairs can hear them and make an effort to resolve the matter.

He said that Port Elizabeth police conducted their investigations. However, due to the nature of the case, the couple was informed that the HAWKS were taking over.

Until the matter is finalised, his child is stuck with a stranger's surname.

*Not his real name.