IN LIMBO: Petrus Mtungwa. 23/02/09. Pic. Bafana Mahlangu. © Sowetan.
IN LIMBO: Petrus Mtungwa. 23/02/09. Pic. Bafana Mahlangu. © Sowetan.

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

"There is nothing worse than being asked to prove that you are alive."

This is what Petros Mtungwa said about his struggle to prove his "life status" after he was declared dead by the Department of Home Affairs four years ago.

His woes started when he had to fill in forms after the death of his daughter on December 29 2004.

However, the official recorded that both of them had died.

"When I realised the mistake, I immediately went to their office in Orlando West, Soweto. They told me it had been corrected," he said.

Mtungwa, 55, of Evaton North in the Vaal, said he discovered last month that he was still dead when he wanted to renew his passport.

"A relative from Swaziland had died and I needed a passport. I went to Home Affairs offices in Harrison Street (Joburg) to apply but I was told I died in 2005."

He said he went to Orlando West offices where the mistake had happened to find out why they lied to him about rectifying the mistake, but instead he was told to reapply for the passport.

Mtungwa said he could not open an account and was worried about what would happen when he retired. "I don't know whether or not I will get my pension. This is traumatising," he said.

Home Affairs spokesperson Joseph Mohajane said: "We have been calling on people who have been wrongfully declared dead, but are indeed alive, to visit any Home Affairs office.

"Like Mr Mtungwa, they will need to bring along an affidavit from a police station or magistrate's court, which will be attached to the forms that will be filled in at our offices, with a full set of fingerprints and ID photos."