A 64-year-old Limpopo woman who has battled to obtain an identity document since 1973 is on the path to reclaiming her lost dignity and tasting the fruits of freedom.
The government has promised to intervene and help Anna Mmola to obtain an ID.
Mmola, of Marirone village near Relela in the Tzaneen area, has also received food parcels from the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) to last her and her family for a month.
"I never thought this day would come. Thanks to Sowetan for publishing my story. I will at last live a normal life like anyone and enjoy the fruits of freedom though I and my children have never voted since 1994," she said happily.
Government intervention came after Sowetan highlighted Mmola's plight and hardship of nearly 40 years of living life below the poverty line because her many years of trying to apply for an ID had been unsuccessful.
Because of her predicament, the mother of seven was unable to gain access to the government's social grants, food parcels and an RDP house.
Her children, who also had no identity documents, also experienced lost opportunities in the job market.
Mmola depended on the kindness of her neighbours, who gave her odd jobs to perform in return for either food or small amounts of money to put bread on the table for her family.
But all that is history after she applied for an ID and received food parcels from Sassa.
Suzan Mboweni, communications manager at the Department of Home Affairs in Tzaneen, said the department had learned about Mmola's situation in Sowetan on Wednesday.
Mboweni said the department usually depended on ward councillors and community development workers for information.
"Had we known about this, we would have gone straight to the granny's house and help her secure her ID," she said.
Mboweni said Mmola's ID application would take about a month to be processed. Sassa local manager Joe Mamphekwa said Mmola had qualified for an old-age grant for the past four years and that she was likely to receive the grant before the end of July.
"In the meantime, the agency will be providing Mmola and her family with food parcels while making sure that her grant is processed."
The mayor of Greater Tzaneen, Othanniel Mushoana, said community workers and the ward councillor would provide Mmola with a relief house.
He said the municipality was waiting for a report to kick-start the process of building her and her family a proper house.