home affairs bungle irks man

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The prospect of working as an artisan in Sierra Leone is fading each day for a Limpopo man after the Department of Home Affairs decided he is a Mozambican.

Rodney Selaole of Namakgale in Phalaborwa, is a frustrated man because he has been branded an illegal immigrant.

His plans were shattered after the department in Phalaborwa said he was sharing an identity document number with an illegal immigrant from Mozambique.

Selaole was supposed to have started work in Sierra Leone on February 1 with a mining company.

However, his dream became a nightmare after officials of the department confiscated his identity document and ordered him to apply for another one.

Yesterday he was still at the Home Affairs offices where he staged a sit-in to highlight his plight.

The department apparently told Selaole to apply for another ID to prove that he was indeed a South African.

The department further told him to provide proof of residence, a letter from the headman or ward councillor, his birth and matric certificates.

But his nightmare continued even after he provided these documents.

"I have been waiting since February for the department to address my problem. Each time I visit the department they send me from pillar to post," Selaole said yesterday.

"I am a black South African who was born and bred in Phalaborwa. Maybe my height and accent have something to do with the mix-up," he said.

In 2005, Selaole was nearly deported with a group of illegal immigrants to Mozambique when police mistook him for a Zimbabwean.

But he said the police released him at Komatipoort Bridge after he was made to translate the words "I am a proud South African in Sepedi, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.

An official of the Department of Home Affairs in Phalaborwa, Antoinette Healing, yesterday confirmed the mix-up and said her department was addressing the problem.

"We have already sent his new ID application to Pretoria for verification and we hope they will send back an approval letter soon," Healing said.