Sowetan helps Motsumi get his ID

Elisha Molefe

A 21-year-old Mafikeng, North West, man has been given a new lease on life, thanks to the intervention of Sowetan.

Motsumi Shumba, of Debate village outside Mafikeng, was yesterday issued with his identity document after years of waiting.

Since last year, Shumba did not exist, officially that is.

He was certified dead by the Department of Home Affairs in Mmabatho last November when he went there to enquire about the delay over his application for a new ID.

Shumba said he had applied for an ID in 2002 and had been sent from pillar to post by the department since then.

The department wrote to him in 2002 and told him his ID had been processed and was in the post to their offices in Krugersdorp.

Shumba said he had never lived in Krugersdorp and did not know where it was.

Commenting on Shumba's claims, the department said it had investigated a possible duplication of Shumba's identity number and found that he shared the number with another person with identical particulars.

Handing over the ID to Shumba yesterday, the department's provincial manager in the Molopo district, Sulleiman Hencock, apologised for the delay and inconvenience he had been caused.

"His identity document was not supposed to go where it was in the first place.

"But, like I had promised Sowetan that we would treat this matter urgently, we have done exactly that and today we hand over his document," said Hencock.

Peter Shumba, Motsumi's uncle, said he was happy his nephew had obtained his ID, but was unhappy about the way the matter had been handled.

"I beg you all at this office that in future, matters like this should not happen again," he said.

"Maybe the first ID that was issued had fallen into the wrong hands."