South Africa’s ‘missing’ fathers‚ and what we know about the mothers

28 August 2018 - 10:25
By Nico Gous
South Africa’s ‘missing’ fathers‚ and what we know about the mothers.
Image: 123RF/vitalinka South Africa’s ‘missing’ fathers‚ and what we know about the mothers.

Fathers were missing for more than six out of every 10 babies born in South Africa last year (61.7%). This is according to the 2017 Recorded Live Births report Stats SA released on Monday.

This is a slight decrease from 2016‚ when 62% of births were recorded without the father’s details.  According to the 2017 report‚ while the Department of Home Affairs’ notice of birth form (called the DHA-24 form) does include a space for the child’s father’s details‚ the high number of missing fathers means that the information was not hugely reliable.

Instead‚ Stats SA said it rather drew on data from what the form revealed about mothers – and on that front‚ there was a lot that was known. The data reveals that 340 births were registered in 2017 to mothers older than 50‚ wihle 3‚261 children were registered to mothers aged between 10 and 14. On top of this‚ 119‚645 teens – aged between 15 and 19 – were registered last year.

But it was the 25 — 29 age group that accounted for the highest number of total birth registrations‚ with 247‚507. This was followed by the 20 — 24 age range (244‚190) and the 30 — 34 range (200‚490).Overall‚ there was a 2.1% increase from 969‚415 registered births in 2016‚ with 989‚318 births registered last year. 

Of the births registered in 2017‚ 897‚750 occurred in 2017 and 91‚568 were late registrations. Boys outnumbered the girls‚ with 460‚774 registered births compared to 452‚725.The most populous provinces were Gauteng (239‚457) and KwaZulu-Natal (197‚913). 

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The least births were registered in the Northern Cape (24‚395) and Free State (50‚130)‚ “which is also in line with the population sizes of the provinces”‚ Stats SA said.The most popular name for newborns in 2017 was Enzokuhle‚ which means “to do good”.

The most popular first names for boys were Enzokuhle‚ Lethabo and Melokuhle and for girls‚ it was Enzokuhle‚ Melokuhle and Amahle. The most common surnames for both sexes were Dlamini‚ Nkosi and Ndlovu. Enzokuhle was also the most common first name for boys in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Lethabo was the most popular first name for girls in Gauteng and Limpopo.

“In South Africa‚ and in most African countries‚ traditional African names often have unique stories behind them. From the day or time a baby is born to the circumstances surrounding the birth‚ several factors influence the names parents choose for their children‚” Stats SA said.

The Births and Deaths Registration Act enshrines the right to a first name and surname. Both are requirements for obtaining a birth certificate. According to the Births and Deaths Registration Amendment Act‚ a birth must be registered within 30 days.