·         Principal Secretary

·         National civil registrar

·         Members of the media

I extend my greetings to all of you.

We did not anticipate this day last year. The whole world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the resilience of humanity will overcome this challenge.  In order for Eswatini and the world to win this battle, it is important to observe all health protocols as provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health.

Today, August 10 marks the day that the African continent commemorates the Third Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day under the theme Civil Registration and Vital Statistics: An Essential Service for Monitoring and Mitigating the Impact of Emergencies. It is unfortunate that this year the day is commemorated in the midst of the crippling coronavirus pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and affected millions across the globe.

Civil registration is defined by United Nations as the universal, compulsory, continuous, permanent and confidential recording of the occurrence of all vital events. It is an invaluable source for comprehensive, regular and detailed vital statistics.

Functioning civil registration systems provide people with legal identity documents, starting with a birth certificate that proves their legal status and help to safeguard their rights throughout their lives.

The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini recognizes Civil Registration as an essential service hence we have ensured its continuity even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Service Centers are operational registering only current Births, Deaths and recently Marriages.

However, some services remain disrupted or completely unavailable. Arrangements are being made for a smooth resumption of services and appropriate management of the backlog when normality returns. The Civil registration department shall prepare contingency plans to meet post-pandemic demand for registration services. Other interventions to deal with the backlog will be strategized accordingly to ensure excellence of service delivery.


Civil Registration is a fundamental legal right enshrined in Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights that provide individuals with legal identity documents starting with a birth certificate that prove their legal status and help to safeguard their rights throughout their lives. This right can never be restricted nor be suspended, even in an emergency.

However, emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic and other natural disasters have left people without proof of legal identity and hence the affected people may not be able to acquire a nationality and become stateless.


Indeed, Emergencies like the current COVID-19 pandemic are disruptive for the provision of civil registration services. The current pandemic has shown the vulnerabilities of the civil registration system when actually the services are required the most.

Evidence shows that social distancing, restricted movement, and general apathy by the populace to go to registration centres as a result of the country’s partial lockdown hindered civil registration. However, it pleases government that the Ministry was able to provide real-time data needed to manage the crisis including its socio-economic effects.

The fact that civil registration services are obtained under one roof in this Kingdom puts us as a shining example within the SADC region. This is evidenced by the number of countries who choose to benchmark with our system.  However, the demand for registration services remains weak not only in Eswatini but in the entire continent because many people have no adequate awareness about the importance of civil registration for them and their families, and the implications it has for improving access to core government services. African CRVS Day observed every year is meant to help improve public awareness on the importance of making everyone visible in Africa through universal birth registration and certification.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs shall continue to provide excellent civil registration services while ensuring safety of the public and the workforce at all times. The planned mopping exercise which is expected to be rolled out before long will ensure that all qualifying Emaswati are registered. We are confident that this exercise will be a resounding success and speed up the registration of all citizens.

With these words I wish the Eswatini nation and the entire African continent a wonderful Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day!!!

I thank you!!!


RELEASED BY: HRH Princess Lindiwe

                        Minister for Home Affairs


DATE: 10th August 2020


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