Assuming your husband's surname is a choice

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Department of Home Affairs says its officials have received internal training to ensure they adhere to legislation regarding which surname women prefer to assume once they get married.

This comes after media reports of unauthorised changes of surnames of married women reflecting the last name of their spouses as opposed to their preferred choices.

In terms of Circular Number 10 of 2016, the department issued an instruction to officials to allow women to indicate their choice of surname under which they wish to be recorded in the National Population Register following the registration of a marriage.

In terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act No. 51 of 1992 as amended, a woman may, after marriage assume her husband’s surname; add her surname to that of her husband and have a double barrel surname or retain her surname.

The department said it is aware of concerns raised - in spite of the circular - that the preferred surname is omitted in some cases when marriage registrations are captured on the National Population Register.

“We have issued an instruction to our officials to ask the spouses what their preferred surname were. To this end, we undertook internal training to ensure that the legislation and regulations are adhered to fully,” said Acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso.

He called on all affected women to come forward with documented proof to allow the department to resolve their cases. –