Many people don’t know how to obtain a copy of a death certificate in South Africa or how to register a death. It is difficult enough to cope with the loss of a loved one. Legal proceedings to handle family matters are the last thing you need to deal with.


Unfortunately, when settling an estate, applying for insurance benefits, settling pension claims, and closing out the estate, death certificates are required. You won’t need the original death certificate, but you will need certified copies of it. 


According to the South African Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992, specific requirements and procedures must be followed upon a South African citizen’s death. When a death occurs outside of the Republic, it must be reported to either the DHA, the SAPS, or the South African Embassies, Missions, or Consulates of the country the deceased resided in.


When reporting a death, the Notification of Death or Still Birth, a BI-1663 form must be completed. The person reporting the death, usually a medical practitioner, and a DHA officer or member of the SAPS fill out the form. After a death is registered, the Department of Home Affairs issues a BI-1680 (death report). Once the death report is available, a BI-14 (burial order) is issued.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Death?

If you go directly through the Department of home affairs, it will cost R75. But, you have to take some time off to play musical chairs, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be assisted when you get to the front. It’s no secret that anything to do with the DHA is like pulling teeth. If they do help you, you can expect to wait a minimum of six weeks, if you’re lucky. The other scenario is when you live abroad and simply can’t go to your nearest DHA office. 


There is an alternative option. Use a legal document agent like DocAssist for your application. Not only will it make the process more bearable, but you will also obtain your documents much faster. You can expect a turnaround time of around three weeks for an unabridged death certificate and one week for an abridged death certificate. We can also assist you with the apostilization of documents for use abroad. For more information, or to get the process starting as soon as possible, get in touch with DocAssist today. 


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