ID fiasco must be sorted out

Fresh from a scandal of mammoth proportions, the Home Affairs Department is at it again.

Fresh from a scandal of mammoth proportions, the Home Affairs Department is at it again.

The dust hasn't even settled after the furore surrounding Kabelo Thibedi and his infamous hostage drama at the department's Johannesburg office last year. Young Thibedi held up an official with a toy gun out of frustration, which stemmed from a futile two-year wait for an identity document.

In today's newspaper we report on the case of Sibusiso Jele, who has spent the past five years going to and from Home Affairs trying to get an ID. He has stood in long queues on countless occasions, called help-lines and done everything possible to obtain the document, but all in vain.

We reiterate our condemnation of Thibedi's action, for which he was given a five-year jail sentence, which he has appealed.

But we understand the frustration that forces people to take desperate measures.

Our society is structured so that life virtually comes to a halt if one doesn't have an ID. As Thibedi himself said, he was fired from a job and lost several opportunities to get on with his life because he did not have the document.

We need to see a new culture in the government service where inept officials are identified and held accountable. They cannot continue ruining people's lives with utter impunity.

X