Section 25(1) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992 (the Act) enables a mother or guardian to apply to the Director-General (DG) of Home Affairs for the alteration of a minor child’s surname.
Section 25(2) of the Act also enables the biological father to apply for alteration of the child’s surname to the DG. The biological father must, however, provide “good and sufficient” reasons for such alteration. The DG has full discretion to grant the application.
The following requirements must be met:
- Written permission from the biological father, unless waived by a competent court, is a statutory requirement in the case where the child was born in wedlock;
- The biological mother’s husband, whose surname the child will assume, must also give his written consent to the change of surname;
- Both the biological parents’ written consent to the surname change; and
- The consent in writing must contain a good and sufficient reason for the surname change.
The DG has full discretion to grant or deny the application. If the DG denies the application, the Applicant can approach the High Court to review the decision if there are sufficient reasons provided.