KWAZULU-NATAL pensioner Johannes Mbuyazi is alive and kicking.
However, according to officials at the department of Home Affairs, he died three years ago.
Mbuyazi, 69, from Ulundi, said despite numerous requests he is still waiting for a grave number and death certificate.
"I might as well be dead because I can't access my social pension," he said tearfully.
"As things stand my life has ended. I can't provide for myself or my family."
Mbuyazi said he first found out he was dead last year. He said he is now despondent.
"I feel worthless because I am unable to provide for my family," he said.
"I couldn't vote in the last general elections and that may happen again next year (during local government elections)."
To make ends meet, he collects wood in the local forest and then sells it to the local community members.
Local councillor Ntokozo Mhlongo said Mbuyazi once had an ID book but when his pension was stopped he found out that he had been declared dead.
"I have been trying to assist him since last year. But I am also frustrated by the officials who fail to understand the sense of urgency in the case of a sick old man," said Mhlongo.
Mbuyazi has since joined a group of locals who get food from Mhlongo's ward once a week.
"The man needs medical attention. But he gets a decent meal only on Sundays. I do not know how his children survive," Mhlongo said.
"We had asked for assistance from social workers but they cannot move because Mbuyazi is confirmed as dead."
Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa promised to launch an investigation.
"Its unfortunate that Mbuyazi's matter has dragged so long," said Mamoepa.
"But we will investigate it and find an amicable solution as soon as possible."