Home Affairs’ registration campaign is aiming to provide proper documentation for all South African children. (Image:MediaClubsouthafrica.com. For more free photos, visit the Image Library) South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has embarked on a nationwide drive to register all the country’s citizens currently without proper identification papers.President Jacob Zuma, together with the department, launched the National Population Registration campaign in Libode, Eastern Cape province, on 23 March.The campaign “aims to ensure that all South Africans, including those in rural areas, have birth certificates and identity documents”, said the department.Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told a Parliament media briefing on 18 March that a number of South Africans are not registered with the department and are without proper documentation.She added that the country also has a large number of children under the age of 15 whose births have not been registered, which denies them official status in the country.Research by the department shows that the majority of those without birth certificates are between one day and 18 years old, said Dlamini-Zuma. Home Affairs is addressing this by ensuring all infants are registered within 30 days of birth. “It aims to end the late registration of births,” said department spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa.Dlamini-Zuma said 2011 is the deadline for phasing out late registrations of birth, “whereby people register for birth when they are 15 years or above”.“Within one year we aim to have registered the majority of children born in South Africa on our National Population Register,” she added.As part of the campaign, which is already effective, the department is urging South Africans to visit their nearest Home Affairs offices. Mobile stations have also been set up in rural communities to fast-track the registration process.“For our campaign to be successful we need buy-in and active participation of every South African because this is about much more than just ensuring documents for every citizen,” said Dlamini-Zuma.Identity documents for allThe campaign will also speed up the process of issuing identity documents (ID) to all citizens 16 years and older.“Apart from our concerted effort around the registration of births we will also encourage young people to apply for an ID as soon as they reach the qualification age of 16 years,” Dlamini-Zuma said.“… We aim to make certain that every South African citizen is in possession of a South African ID book with information that is verified and secure.”By age 16 the possession of an ID becomes critical as it’s needed when registering for tertiary education or pursuing work opportunities.Although 16-year-olds are encouraged to apply for IDs, young South Africans can only vote with them when they turn 18.Non-registration impacts negatively on government planning for services and infrastructure, the Department of Home Affairs said, adding that the campaign is also aimed at speeding up service delivery.“This campaign ultimately is about ensuring the integrity of our country’s citizenship – a key element of national security in defence of our freedom and democracy,” Dlamini-Zuma said.