The chairperson of Ohangwena Regional Council, Erickson Ndawanifwa, who is also councillor for Omulonga Constituency, is calling for an improved system of issuing national documents, especially for citizens in the remote areas.
Ndawanifwa said a large section of the populace of his constituency is without birth certificates, which also prevents them from acquiring identity documents (IDs). He said statistics obtained recently indicate that 615 school-going children from 11 of the 22 schools in the constituency are without birth certificates.
“This is just a small portion of the constituency figure. This number would be much higher if the other 11 schools, as well as the people who are not in school, are added to the existing figure,” said Ndawanifwa.
He said another study conducted between 2011 and 2012 showed that about 1 500 non-school going residents were also without national identification documents.
“This is a serious national concern that the ministry needs to address urgently. Inasmuch as the new borns are being attended to, there is still a large number of people without national documents that need the ministry’s assistance,” said Ndawanifwa.
Ndawanifwa said what is equally worrisome is that children of mothers without national documents also do not get to acquire national documents themselves and this deprives them of grants, should they qualify.
“We have such cases where a mother does not have a birth certificate, hence her children also do not have. Does the ministry really have a target to ensure that this issue is addressed?” Ndawanifwa asked.
Other reasons for not having national documents often revolve around absent fathers or unknown parents. Ndawanifwa also appealed to mothers to register their children on their surnames in cases where fathers are absent to ensure that every child obtains a birth certificate.
Public relations officer at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration Salome Kambala advised Namibian citizens without national documents to obtain said documents from their respective regional offices.
Kambala also appealed to those without national documents to take note of the supportive documents needed to acquire such official documents.