By: Mary Morotoba
It was recently announced that DNA tests will be conducted for free at government health institutions from June 2022. DNA testing is the use of DNA profiles to determine whether an individual is the biological parent of another individual. Paternity testing can be especially important when the rights and duties of the father are perceived to be an issue and a child’s paternity is in doubt.
DNA clinics do not offer free DNA testing. This service can only be accessed through a private company, and currently there are companies false advertising suggesting that they are offering free DNA tests. The truth of the matter is, DNA clinics provide the test kit free of charge, with payment for the test due on return of your samples.
Following the announcement, there were myths and rumours being spread about the intention of the government. People are concerned because they say that apparently when you take a DNA test at government hospitals most of the results will come positive even if they are negative. According to these claims, the government doesn’t want children to grow without fathers. Other men are advising each other not to go alone but to take two or more friends with and say that they are not sure to as to who the father is, so they can test all three of them. Moreover, citizens believe that the government’s objective is to make sure every child is afforded the paternal rights and the only time the results will come out negative is when the test is conducted on two or more men – if among those men there’s no positive results, the one who is financially stable will be framed. This issue of the free DNA test has raised a lot of complaints because many believe that when it comes to our South African government there is a lot of corruption and just a simple R20 can make the results change.
Most women agree with this because they believe that it is important for mothers too. In fact, they are saying it should be mandatory for both parents to do DNA test as soon as the baby is born – concerns are substantiated by issues of women who took wrong babies home.
The government should put the DNA testing on hold and focus on prioritising providing sanitary towels for free because sexual intercourse is most of the time a choice but menstruation is not a choice. There are girls out there missing school because they are on their periods and they cannot afford to buy sanitary towels.