Home Affairs in yet another identity book bungle

Mvuyo Mati

Mvuyo Mati

An administration bungle by Home Affairs is causing a Mdantsane man sleepless nights after he was issued with the wrong identity document.

Fezile George Gqweta was born on October 16 1957, but according to the department, he will turn 70 on that date this year.

Gqweta's ordeal started when he went to collect his identity document from the Home Affairs Department in East London in 1999.

He discovered that his ID stated that he was born on October 16 1937.

"When I realised the error, I immediately lodged a query with the department officials.

"They gave me a form and said I must take it to the school I first attended at Duncan Village in 1963," he said.

But Gqweta says the school no longer exists. He now wonders if that means he will never have a proper ID.

"Because my ID says I was born in 1937, I cannot have a job.

"I went to Cape Town to look for work, but nobody was willing to employ me because [they said] I'm too old to be working.

"Even when I tried to apply for an old-age pension, the Social Development Department told me I was [too young] to qualify for such a pension.

"This effectively means I can not get a job or an old-age pension."

He said the department "must sort out their mess because I'm unemployed and certainly don't have the money to apply for another ID".

Apart from the incorrect year, the department also misspelt Gqweta's surname.

According to the ID, his surname is Gweta.

"This ID is giving me lots of problems," grumbled Gqweta.

Home Affairs area manager for Eastern Cape Luthando Myataza urged Gqweta to visit the department's nearest office and immediately present his case to an official in charge.

Myataza promised that if there was any proof that the department had made a mistake in capturing the applicant's particulars, they would not charge him for the new ID book.

"His [Gweta's] case is very simple.

"There is no point in him getting an extract from the first school register," Myataza told Sowetan.

But Myataza did warn Gqweta that if the department found out that he had submitted the wrong information, he would definitely have to pay for his new ID book.