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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Death is the only option. I am so sorry. I love you

By Canaan Mdletshe | Sep 04, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

AN emotional and weeping Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma yesterday announced that two officials from the department's Pinetown offices who allegedly refused to help a 20-year-old man to obtain and ID have been suspended.

She also said an internal disciplinary hearing would take place soon.

She was speaking at the funeral of Douglas Skhumbuzo Mhlongo, who committed suicide by hanging himself last Friday.

This was after he was turned away at the Home Affairs offices.

It is alleged that officials had torn Mhlongo's application form after accusing him of being a foreigner.

They also allegedly demanded a R400 bribe from him.

Dlamini-Zuma, who kept on wiping tears during a moving funeral service, told mourners that Home Affairs was "rotten to pieces".

Also present at the service were IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Meshack Hadebe, MEC for social development.

"We were extremely hurt when we received the sad news last week," Dlamini-Zuma said.

"It was something unbearable and unimaginable that a person could kill himself for something like an ID.

"When one reads the contents of a suicide note he left, one wonders how many more people experience the same difficulties when visiting our department."

She said what was most disturbing about Mhlongo's case was that he died because of the negligence of a department that should be giving hope to the people.

"He had lost hope, but this department should be the one giving hope.

"He was a sacrifice, but how many more do we have to bury before we can turn around this department and make it what it is expected of it.

"Why do we have to meet under such circumstances before we can say something has to be done?"

Dlamini-Zuma committed herself to cleaning up the department.

"The tears I am shedding today are a commitment that I will turn around this department.

"This department is a shame. It is rotten to the core, but I am committing that I will clean it up, starting from Pinetown to others throughout the country," she promised.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Angel Mkhize said they were still shocked.

"We are still confused. We don't know how to express our feelings. He made a huge sacrifice and we hope that his death will help others not to suffer the same consequences," she said.

Buthelezi said the manner in which Mhlongo died was an indication that the problems the department had 10 years ago still existed.

"The department is still riddled with problems that myself and previous minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula were faced with.

"Despite all the efforts we put in, the problems are very much with us," he said.


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