Answer to a question from a reader

What can I do if Home Affairs won't help me get an ID because my parents aren't with me?

The short answer

It would be helpful if one of your relatives came forward as a parental figure or guardian to help you apply.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My mother was a domestic worker. She left me with her uncles when she went overseas with her bosses. She took her ID, and I don't know my father so I am struggling to get an ID of my own. I am in matric and am stressing about my prelims. I tried to get help from social workers but still nothing has been done. Home Affairs also can't help me. 

The long answer

I’m assuming that you don’t have a birth certificate? If you were born in South Africa at a hospital, they should have given your mother a clinic card (it is now known as the Road to Health booklet) containing information about your health and immunizations as a baby and on which her ID and your name should have appeared. Is it possible that she left this card with her uncles when she left the country? You can apply for a lost clinic card from the hospital where you were born, if you know which one it was, with a certified affidavit saying that you have lost the card and giving your first name and surname that would have been on the card.

Have you checked with your mother’s uncles whether they have any documents of any kind from your mother about you that might be helpful? Would one of the uncles be willing to come forward as a parental figure or guardian and help in assisting you to apply for late birth registration?

You need a birth certificate to get an ID, so you would have to apply for late registration of birth at the same time as you applied for your ID (form B1-9). As you are older than 15, you would need the following documents:

  • Completed Forms DHA-24, DHA-24/A x 2 and DHA-288 for the registration of birth;

  • Supporting documentation (like your clinic card), as well as written reasons why the birth was not registered within 30 days of birth;

  • Application for an ID (Form B1-9);

  • Two ID-sized photographs (you do not have to supply any photographs if you're getting the smart ID card);

  • As you haven’t got a certified copy of your mother’s ID, perhaps they would accept an affidavit from one of your uncles. He could say that you were left with him by your mother, he does not have her ID number and that you are not in contact with your father, so he is in the place of your parents in this application. This would be accompanied with a certified copy of his own ID;

  • Proof of residence.

Since Home Affairs and the social workers have not been helpful, one of the following organisations may be able to assist you: 


tel: 021 465 6433

Musina: 015 534 2203, Durban: 031 301 0531, Pretoria: 012 3202943, Johannesburg: 011 339 1960, Cape Town: 021 424 8561


Tel: Johannesburg: 011 836 9831, Cape Town: 021 481 3000.

  • The Black Sash: Black Sash

For free paralegal advice: 


Helpline: 072 66 33 73

Wishing you the best,

Answered on Sept. 19, 2022, 4:43 p.m.

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