An acrimonious divorce, especially one where issues relating to child custody have been the source of much tension, can have a devastating effect on the family unit. There have, sadly, been a number of cases where parents have removed their children from the country, without the permission of the other parent, in an effort to claim full custody. This is, unfortunately, considered child abduction in the eyes of the law and can lead to criminal proceedings being lodged against the abducting parent. This desperate situation is one that incoming legislation seeks to curb.
As it is, for children to obtain a passport, both parents need to give written permission and, if a parent wishes to take their child overseas, they must have the written permission of the other parent to do so. But this seems to not be enough as child abduction cases like this still pop up.
From June 2015, children travelling in and out of South Africa, whether they are with their parents/guardians or not, will need not only a valid passport, but also an unabridged birth certificate. Further, should the child be travelling with someone other than their parent/s, they will need signed affidavits from both parents that affirm their permission to travel overseas. An unabridged birth certificate lists the names of both the mother and father of the child, and can be obtained from the Department of Home Affairs.