Bungling leaves family starving

Frank Maponya

It seems there is no limit to the bungling by the Department of Home Affairs.

A Limpopo pensioner applied for her ID during the last century, but is still no closer to getting one.

Moduba Agnes Maanaso, 62, who lives in the remote village of Makhwibidung outside Tzaneen, has visited the Home Affairs' offices many times without getting any help.

She said she lost her ID when her house burnt down in 1996.

The mother of eight children cannot access the government's grant system because she does not have an identity document.

She said every time she goes to the Home Affairs office she is told a different story, none of which she understands.

During one visit, Maanaso was told to bring along a relative who is 10 years older than her, but she does not have one.

She and her children depend on one of her sons, who does odd jobs. However, his earnings are not enough to support the entire family.

The widow said she was visiting relatives in 1996 when she heard her house had been gutted by a fire.

Her apartheid era "dompas", the former apartheid identity document, was destroyed in the blaze.

When she went to apply for a new ID, Maanaso was told to provide officials with her "dompas" numbers, which she did not know.

"I still cannot understand what bearing the old numbers would have on the new ID I applied for," said Maanaso.

She also said officials were rude and did not take her plight into account.

"It is painful when your friends get government grants every month while you are forced to go to sleep on an empty stomach," she said.

Mantshele Tau, spokesman for Home Affairs, said yesterday the department would do everything in its power to help Maanaso get her identity document as soon as possible.