Notes on the Proposed Amendment of Section 21 of the Children's Act 38 of 2005

Jacqueline Heaton
2019 Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal  
In terms of section 21 of the Children's Act 38 of 2005, an unmarried father acquires full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of his child if he lives with the child's mother in a permanent life-partnership when the child is born. He also acquires full parental responsibilities and rights if, regardless of whether or not he has ever lived with the child's mother, he consents or successfully applies to be identified as the child's father or pays damages in terms of customary law,
more » ... contributes or attempts in good faith to contribute to the child's upbringing and maintenance for a reasonable period. Several provisions of section 21 are unclear and/or unsatisfactory. The draft Children's Amendment Bill, 2018 seeks to address problematic aspects of the section. Unfortunately, the proposed amendments to section 21 leave one disappointed. Although some of the amendments are welcome, the draft Bill fails to address several of the uncertainties flowing from the current wording of section 21 and even creates additional uncertainties. The wording of many of the amendments has not been properly thought through, and the draft Bill fails to address the key question of whether the requirements in section 21(1)(b) operate conjunctively or independently.
doi:10.17159/1727-3781/2019/v22i0a5974 fatcat:bhq4cjsnsnbclpgqm7kurg7rsq