The short answer
Home Affairs should help you, but you will have to give a "good and sufficient reason"
The whole question
My partner and I are married – she is South African but I am not. When we had our children, my name was not printed on their birth certificates. How can I amend this and what will the process entail?
The long answer
Home Affairs gives three different instances in which such changes are permitted:
If you were unmarried when the children were born, but later marry, you can submit Form B1-59 to Home Affairs along with proof of the marriage. Both parents must sign the form in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths;
To insert the biological father’s name in the birth register of a child born out of wedlock, both parents must complete Form B1-1682 and submit it to Home Affairs;
To alter the surname of a minor, Home Affairs says that:
If a child is born out of wedlock and the mother marries a person other than the child's biological father and wishes to change the child’s surname to that of her husband;
If a mother, after her divorce from or the death of her husband (father of child), wishes to change the child's surname to her maiden surname or to another surname she bore legally; or if she has remarried, to the surname of her new husband;
If a child is born out of wedlock but registered under the biological father's surname and the mother wishes to change the child's surname to hers;
If a minor is under the care of a guardian and the guardian wishes to change the child's surname to his/hers;
Other situations not mentioned above where a good and sufficient reason for the change exists.
Applications must be on a duly completed Form BI-193.
The only one that applies to you in that list is the last one: “Other situations not mentioned above where a good and sufficient reason for the change exists.”
If you run into difficulties with Home Affairs, you can ask one of the following organisations for help and advice:
Scalabrini Centre (Cape Town)
Tel: 021 465 6433
Legal Resources Centre
Tel - Cape Town: 021 481 3000
Tel - Johannesburg: 011 836 9831
Lawyers for Human Rights
Tel - Cape Town: 021 424 8561
Wishing you the best,
Answered on March 23, 2022, 3:35 p.m.
Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.