Home PodcastMariam Mia Child of refugee parents denied her right to ID card

Child of refugee parents denied her right to ID card

by Umamah Bakharia

CAPE TOWN – A matriculant and deputy prefect from Kensington High School in Cape Town says her right to education has been violated after she was denied an ID card because she is born to refugee parents.

18-year-old Karolyn Mujinga, was born in South Africa to a Congolese mother who escaped the war in 1999.

Salaamedia’s Mariam Mia spoke to Karolyn Mujinga, Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza and Head of Advocacy & Legal Advisor at Scalabrini Center Cape Town Sally Gander to expand on the issue of young South African’s born to refugees that are not given the right to an ID and/or citizenship to further their studies.

“When I turned 16, I could not get an ID like others which meant that I could not write my Grade 12 final exams. However, the Department of Basic Education has said that I can write my exams but without an ID, I cannot apply to universities, bursaries or get my driving license,” said Karolyn.

Mujinga started a petition calling on Department of Home Affairs to make provisions for matriculant immigrant/refugees that were born in South Africa by opening up a helpline to assist with their ID and citizenship.

However, according to Qoza, Department of Home Affairs has temporarily suspended citizenships because of the risk of COVID-19.


He stated that there is a process that should be followed in order to obtain citizenship but Karolyn can apply for a temporary refugee ID in the meantime.

Gander argued that regulations have to be passed in order for the forms to be provided at the Home Affairs offices so that young immigrants/refugees can apply for citizenship, because Karolyn has a right to citizenship by naturalization because the birth has been registered in South Africa.

Due to the offices being closed, immigrants/refugees are advised to make use of their online platforms to submit applications or email enabledocument.asm@dha.gov.za


Watch the full discussion here:

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