Home Affairs did not ban names with click-sound characters

Stefanus Nashama

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security has distanced itself from recent media reports that it has banned the use of special characters such as !Gawaxab or //Karas when indicating click sounds in some names as part of its services.

This is despite the assertion that click-sound symbols could potentially lead to confusion and inconsistencies in official documentation as was reported by some media houses.

According to the Ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer, Margaret Kalo the government through the Ministry has no policy to discriminate against any section of the community as reported.

Kalo noted that the allegations were one-sided in reporting without the relevant information.

She reiterated that information shared in media reports about banning the click-sound characters in names has never happened to the Ministry before, and for that reason, the public should not be confused.

“We want the public to be given accurate information to avoid such media reports aimed at misleading the Namibian community at large. The assertion that the Ministry’s registration system has sparked uproar by disallowing names with click sounds in official birth certificate registrations is not true,” she added.

According to Kalo, the issue of a client, who was not happy with the service offered by the Ministry in correcting the name of her child on the Identity Document (ID), was rectified.

She also pointed out that the client went to the media with her complaint despite the fact that she was informed that the mistake would be corrected.

“As far as the birth certificate of the applicant is concerned, the name was spelt correctly because the birth certificate was handwritten as opposed to the ID card machine which requires the translation of click symbols and special characters,’ she explained.

In light of this, Kalo said there was no misspelling of the name on the birth certificate as alleged in media reports and no ban on click sound symbols or characters in the names.

She stressed that such allegations are false and are misleading the public.

According to the statement issued by the Ministry last week, the client was engaged on the matter after the Ministry took note of the complaint.

The complainant was then informed that the Ministry would attend to the matter with the supplier of the ID printing machines to ensure that all the missing characters used in Namibia were included.

“After the matter was brought to the attention of the Ministry, a meeting was also convened with the supplier of the ID printing machines,” Kalo explained. Concerning the missing characters, Kalo said the Ministry is working in collaboration with the University of Namibia to figure out all the click symbols and special characters being used in the country.

This includes all special characters not translated into Unicode standard representation, as some clicks and characters are already translated.

“The allegations are not only misleading the public but remain confusing, harming and discontent to some of the communities in the country,” she commented.

She asserted that the Ministry complies with the requirements of the Namibian Constitution and other laws required for such services.

Kalo cautioned the public not to entertain misleading media reports.

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