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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Home Affairs bungle makes Gabela's life miserable

By unknown | Oct 09, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A 24-year-old man had to prove and swear under oath that he was not a woman because of an embarrassing blunder by the ever-bungling Department of Home Affairs.

For eight years Siyabonga Gabela, from Makhankane in KwaZulu-Natal, had been classified as a woman by the Department of Home Affairs.

Gabela discovered in March that, according to the department, he was in fact a woman when his employers in Pretoria West tried to register him for the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

"I was called to the office and told that I was a fraudster. My supervisor accused me of submitting a fraudulent identity document. I spent a night in police cells and was released by a magistrate who said I should go to home affairs so that they could rectify the mistake," said Gabela.

To rectify the mistake, home affairs required him to bring a doctor's note affirming that he was indeed a man and make a sworn statement that he was not a woman.

"In July, I provided a home affairs official with all the required documents, but I am still waiting for my ID. They issued me with a temporary ID and told me to collect mine after three months. The temporary ID is valid for three months. I went back after three months. They said my ID is not ready, so I am virtually without an ID. I have been to Home Affairs so many times I have lost hope of ever getting one," said Gabela.

Department of Home Affairs spokesman Mantshele Tau was shocked to hear that Gabela had still not received his ID. He promised to look into the matter.

Last month, Gabela was forced to register his one-year-old daughter using his customary law wife's surname because he does not have a valid identity document.


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