I was shocked to learn I was blacklisted as a foreigner

Luzuko Pongoma

Luzuko Pongoma

Four years ago Sifiso Twala's faith in the Department of Home Affairs soared but today she, like many other South Africans, wishes someone would either jack it up - or shut it down.

"I am shocked by how the department does things," she says. "They have broken my heart, and my trust."

In 2004 the then director-general of the department, Barry Gilder, personally delivered her identity document to her home in Protea North, Soweto, in time for her to register to vote in the elections that year.

This year Twala, 24, was dogged by bad luck.

In August her handbag was snatched in the Johannesburg CBD.

It contained her ID book and other personal belongings. She reported the matter to the police and and to Home Affairs.

She says she also applied for both a new ID and a temporary one at the department's Orlando West office in Soweto.

"I was told I would get the temporary ID within 10 days but when I went back I was told my application had been rejected," Twala says.

"I was shocked when they told me I was blacklisted because I am a foreigner."

She says she cannot register to vote because of the incompetence of the department's officials.

This is not the first time Twala has had a problem with the discredited department.

In 2004 Gilder delivered Twala's ID at her home after Sowetan reported her two-year struggle for an ID.

Gilder said then that the department "planned to advance its technology systems".

Home Affairs spokesman Joseph Mohajane yesterday said the department was investigating the matter.

"We will establish how she was classified as a foreigner because the ID had been reported stolen and was blocked," Mohajane said.