Following washing powder brand Omo’s Father’s Day advertising campaign, Africa Check found that more than 60% of biological fathers don’t live with their children.
According to the fact-checking organisation, recent data suggests that 61,8%-64,1% of children are living without their fathers, including those whose fathers have died.
Africa Check is a non-profit organisation set up in 2012 to promote accuracy in public debate and the media in Africa with the goal being to raise the quality of information available to society across the continent.
The data excludes children raised by fathers who didn’t live with them and men not related to them, but who play a father-like role.
Stats SA’s Deputy Director for Service Delivery Statistics Casment Mahlwele told the site that to be considered a resident of a household in South Africa, a biological father needs to spend at least four nights on average per week, for four weeks, living there.
The national statistical service of South Africa conducts its General Household Survey every year. Stats SA’s 2017 survey found that biological fathers of 61,8% of children younger than 18 were absent from the household, similar to 2016’s figure of 62,2%.
Its much larger 2016 Community Survey of 1,3 million households estimated a higher figure of 64,1%. The fact-checking site says this survey was made up of 8,7% of children younger than 18 whose father had died and 55,4% whose biological father was alive, but didn’t live with them.
The statistics don’t count men fulfilling the caregiving function as fathers.
The indicator doesn’t show whether biological fathers are involved in raising their children.
Wessel van den Berg, who manages the Children’s Rights and Positive Parenting unit at Sonke Gender Justice, told Africa Check that the fact that a biological father does not live with a child does not mean that the father is not involved in the child’s life.
Sonke Gender Justice works to promote the equitable treatment of men, women and children.
“Additionally, a child may live with a man who fulfils a caregiving function, and who is not their biological father. This man will not be counted as a father in current household surveys,” Van den Berg was quoted as saying.
The Stats SA surveys also don’t include fathers who only come home on weekends.
Source: Africa Check