Home Affairs has turned his life upside down

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

The embattled Department of Home Affairs continues to declare the living dead.

The latest victim is Siboniseleni Makhaye, who says his life has been turned upside down after being declared dead in January last year. He has since lost his social welfare grant.

Makhaye, 59, of Mandeni on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, has tuberculosis. Doctors declared him unfit to work and he received a grant. But then the Department of Home Affairs declared him dead. He said he had gone to collect his grant when he was told that it had been cancelled.

"They told me that I had been declared dead and the grant had been cancelled. I thought they were joking, but they weren't," he said.

When he went to Home Affairs he was issued with his death certificate.

"I couldn't believe it. I was shocked that they had pronounced me dead, while there I was, alive and kicking. It's ridiculous," he said.

He said Home Affairs advised him to apply for a new ID.

"I did and was promised I would get it within three months but it never arrived. I even went to the Durban offices but that didn't help. I have waited a whole year for the ID," he complained.

Now Makhaye's life has been further burdened by loan-sharks. They want the money Makhaye borrowed from them.

"I am in all this trouble because of Home Affairs. How am I going to pay these people? They want their money. My wife and I survive with the help of neighbours," he said.

Jacky Mashapu, Home Affairs spokesman, said they would investigate and steps would be taken to rectify the error if indeed there was one.

Mashapu said they had discovered a new phenomenon where people collude with doctors to certify a person had died.

"People declare their brothers or sisters dead to claim the insurance. If one of our employees is involved we will fire him or her on the spot," he said.