Answer to a question from a reader

Can I get an ID if my birth was registered under the name/ID of someone who is not my birth mother?

The short answer

Yes, but you should include an affidavit explaining the circumstances of your birth.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

When I was born, my mother had to stay in the hospital for a long time. My aunt took care of me and registered my birth using her ID number, rather than my mother's. Now I am 17 and need to apply for my own ID, but my mother and I are struggling to find my aunt or a copy of her ID. The only supporting document I have is my clinic card. Is there a way for me to apply for my ID without my aunt?

The long answer

It is always very difficult to deal with Home Affairs, but that is where to start. You should record all the details of the office, the date of your visit, whom you spoke to and what you were advised to do. This is because if you eventually have to consult a lawyer to assist you, you can show them how you have tried to apply for your ID.

In order to apply for an ID, you have to have a birth certificate. So you will need to go through late birth registration. These are the documents that Home Affairs says are needed to register a birth after more than seven years:

(DHA stands for Department of Home Affairs. LRB stands for late registration of birth.) 

  • DHA 24/LRB (notice of birth);

  • Children born at health facilities: DHA 24/PB (Proof of birth);

  • DHA 288/A (Affidavit giving reasons for LRB);

  • DHA 288;

  • Biometrics (ID-size photo and fingerprint) of the person to be registered;

  • Fingerprints of parent/s;

  • ID/Passport of parent/s;

In the affidavit (DHA 288/A) giving reasons for the late registration of birth, you should tell the story of your mother’s illness and the aunt who used her own ID to register your birth, who then disappeared, in as much detail as you can. 

It is not clear from your email if your mother is still alive, but perhaps you have some proof of your mother’s existence (or death), and perhaps even your mother’s ID? Your father’s? You should also ask Home Affairs if they have your aunt’s name on their system, as they would then have her ID. You could also ask them to check on their system whether the aunt was still alive or deceased.

If they are not helpful, you could take whatever documents and information you have managed to accumulate, and ask one of the following organisations for help:

  • The Black Sash (which is a paralegal organisation)

Email: or

Helpline: 072 663 3739 / 063 610 1865

  • Legal Aid (which must help people who can’t afford a lawyer)

Helpline: 0800 110 110

Please Call Me: 079 835 7179 


  • Legal Resources 


Wishing you the best,

Answered on April 5, 2022, 12:38 p.m.

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