Answer to a question from a reader

Home Affairs is refusing to issue our mother's death certificate because of a clerical error. Can you refer us to a firm that specialises in this?

The short answer

We suggest either De Saude Attorneys or Intergate Immigration.

The whole question

I'm hoping you can advise me on the following situation.

My mother passed away in 2016 in another country. She was a citizen of that country and South Africa.

Her other country death certificate has been issued showing her date of birth to be slightly different from her South African one. We need her South African death certificate to be issued by Home Affairs so we can wind up her estate. We were asked by Home Affairs to translate all the other country's documents and resubmit them. We did this but Home affairs still refuses to issue the death certificate. It has been over three years of back and forth? We are at our wits end. What can we do?

Can you refer us to a firm that specialises in this?

(Question substantially edited to hide identity of reader.)

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking for a reference to a firm specialising in dealing with Home Affairs, who are refusing to issue a death certificate for your mother due to her birth certificate in her other country reflecting a different birth date from the one on her South African ID.

It must be deeply frustrating, and indeed, infuriating, for your family, to be confronted with Home Affairs’ ongoing refusal to issue the death certificate after you have submitted further information from the other country confirming her date of birth. That it has taken three years of trying is disgraceful, but sadly, not at all unusual when dealing with Home Affairs.

Home Affairs has been taken to court a number of times over the last few years both for its unreasonable delay in processing applications and wrongful refusal of applications. In March 2019 of this year, it lost yet another appeal when the Supreme Court of Appeal called it “unconscionable...deliberately obstructive and dilatory”

This case was brought to court by De Saude Attorneys and Immigration Management Services SA trading as Visa One, on behalf of 473 people whose applications to Home Affairs had got nowhere, after years of effort.

As De Saude Attorneys has had years of experience in dealing with Home Affairs, and has been successful, you may want to contact them about representing you.

They are based in Cape Town and their telephone number is 021 418 3188. You can email them at

Another specialist law firm which has taken Home Affairs to court before is Intergate Immigration. You can telephone them at 021 424 2460 in Cape Town, and 011 234 4275 in Johannesburg.

Lawyers for Human Rights have taken up many cases involving Home Affairs. You can contact them at 021 424 8561 in Cape Town and 011 339 1960 in Johannesburg, or email them at

Answered on Oct. 4, 2019, 2:24 p.m.

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