Himeville ID rush intensifies

2012-06-27 00:00

HUNDREDS of foreign nationals have returned to Himeville in just over a month after they had originally descended on the tiny Drakensberg village in the hope of receiving South African identity documents.

David Adam, a councillor from the Sisonke District Municipality, told The Witness there had been more people this time around than there were last month.

“People have been streaming in from all over the place again,” he said. “There was even a car with a Bellville [Western Cape] numberplate.”

He said the parking area outside the Department of Home Affairs’ offices had been full of cars, and some people were sleeping outside.

The department said its staff were busy completing a survey of foreign nationals living in border areas, which had begun last month.

The focus of the survey in Himeville was on people living below the nearby Sani Pass, which is the only road route between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal.

The department’s deputy director-general, Vusi Mkhize, said it was important to know who was living within the borders of the country for security reasons.

However, some had even come from as far as Cape Town in their attempt to obtain identity documents.

“They are taking chances and you will find that they will also go to other places to register. We cannot send them away because we will end up being at a disadvantage as they will remain in the country anyway,” he said.

He added that fingerprints of applicants were being taken, which would prevent duplicate registrations.

“Some applicants also register elsewhere, and they use different names. But, since we have their fingerprints in our database, we will be able to see whether the individual has already been registered or not,” he said.

He concluded by saying they were not applying for IDs because they were not South African.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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