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From birth to death, department's bungling profoundly affects people's lives

By unknown | Dec 27, 2006 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

From the cradle to the grave, the Home Affairs department touches people's lives.

And without fail something out of the ordinary happens that changes people's lives, from pronouncing them dead to marrying them to foreigners they don't know.

Here are some of the highlights of the year.

l The Classic: Kabelo Thibedi held a female Home Affairs official hostage last year after waiting more than two years for his ID.

Because of his court case, Thibedi continued to make headlines.

He was found guilty on kidnapping charges last month and is now awaiting the outcome of his appeal against a five-year sentence. For the moment he helps disgruntled people with complaints against Home Affairs.

l The death certificates:

Petronella Baloyi was one of the many casualties of Home Affairs who were issued death certificates instead of documents such as an ID or a marriage certificate.

She was pronounced dead by the department in May last year when she was issued a death certificate instead of an identity document.

The 23-year-old from Tshiawelo, in Soweto, had applied for an identity document three years before she was issued with the death certificate.

Also declared dead by the department was Joseph Mogoe.

When he went to check his wages at the bank he discovered that he was "not alive" and had been dead for four months.

He was helped by Sowetan to get his new ID from the department.

l The marriages:

Three years ago Sheenaz Adams from Florida, near Johannesburg, approached Home Affairs to marry her fiance.

She was told that she was already married.

Since then Adams has been married to three other foreigners without her knowledge.

After three years, and with help from Sowetan, her marriages were annulled.

l The sex changes:

For almost 20 years Zacharia Senokoane, of Johannesburg, had an ID number that identified him as a woman.

Senokoane even had to produce a medical certificate to prove to the department, despite his manly features, that he was indeed a man.

He has since received his new ID with the correct number and is ready to legally marry his customary wife.

l The long waits:

Hlengiwe Sibisi, from Durban, applied for her ID book in 1997.

She had reapplied numerous times but to no avail.

It was not until years later that the 24-year-old was told that her ID number was listed on the Home Affairs' computer system as belonging to someone else.

But the longest wait was experienced by Nora Gumede, a 47-year-old woman from Orlando in Soweto.

Gumede and her family finally received their IDs after their mother had frequented the department seeking help.

Gumede had never voted because it was the first time she had had an ID in her life.

The ecstatic woman said, when she received her ID from home affairs minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that she was going to apply for an RDP house for herself and her children.

The bad news:

Home Affairs' offices can be infiltrated by fraudsters, and they even admitted this after a 47-year-old Ghanaian man was arrested in Durban.

He was found with citizenship application forms, identity documents, a Home Affairs' stamp, Zimbabwean and Malawian cash and hundreds of pirated DVDs and CDs.

Home Affairs' department spokesman Nkosana Sibuyi said at the time of the arrest that the man could have received help from inside the department.

With this litany of nefarious activities, and with criminals receiving help from official inside, it will be a long time before Home Affairs canget rid of all the incorrect and false documents roaming our streets.


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