Mystery surrounds Zephany Nurse birth certificate

By admin
25 February 2016

Mystery surrounds who registered the birth of the abducted Zephany Nurse at the Malmesbury home affairs office in 2003, the court heard on Thursday.

According to witness Gerhard Kotze, the current manager of the office, apart from the mother and father, a family member with certified copies of the parents’ identity documents may register a biological child for a birth certificate.

Read more: Zephany accused tried to steal my baby too, witness tells court

However, there was no way to vet whether the person was indeed a relative as they claim to be, he testified.

“Normally we would make a copy and certify [the parents’ ID]. But we do accept certified copies stamped by the police.”

Read more: ‘It took years for me to love Zephany’

The office did not have the original application, and could not clarify who had registered the child 13 years ago, when she was already 6-years-old.

The accused, who cannot be named as it may lead to the teenager being identified, faces charges of kidnapping, fraud and contravening the Children’s Act.

The State is arguing that the 51-year-old Lavender Hill woman stole the three-day-old infant from Groote Schuur Hospital on April 30, 1997 while her mother slept.

Read more: Zephany Nurse’s birth mother breaks down in court

In her plea explanation, the accused refuted the abduction, saying the girl was given to her by a woman named "Sylvia" who had been giving her fertility treatment after she had miscarried.

Sylvia arranged for the baby to be handed over to her at Wynberg station without prior knowledge from her.

The woman said she was surprised because she had expected to meet to discuss the adoption process.

Sylvia claimed to arrange the adoption as she knew of a woman who did not want to keep her baby because the pregnancy was unplanned.

Read more: ‘I’m guilty of raising her, yes. I raised her with the help of God but I didn’t take her’

According to the accused, the woman said the paperwork would be arranged later and she had signed documents including an “adoption application”.

She claimed to have never seen or heard from Sylvia again.

Six years later, the accused said, she received a birth certificate by post with the name she chose for the baby.

The State claims that the accused applied for the document. However, the accused claimed to not have been in Malmesbury at the time.

Raez Khan, for the defence, said his client had been in the town six months after the recorded date to collect her brother’s death certificate.

Kotze said registering a child at the age of six is not unusual.

“Often parents don’t require the birth certificate until school-going age,” he said.

Certificates are issued on the same day as the application, unless the system is offline.

The document is then posted to the applicant, Kotze said.

The accused was arrested in February 2015, after the matter came to light when the girl's biological sister, who is four years younger, told her parents that a matric girl at her school bore a striking resemblance to her and her parents.

When the parents discovered the girl had the same birthday as their missing child, they reported it to police. DNA tests confirmed the teen was indeed their daughter.

The woman has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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