KZN gogo’s ‘British’ ID

2008-03-09 00:00

Woman’s years of struggle with Home Affairs

A sickly Sweetwaters gogo can’t retire as she has been issued identity documents by Home Affairs carrying the same wrong information — three times over.

Khosi Mhlongo (60) says she has leg and back problems and her work as a cleaner is tiring.

However, she can’t retire because according to her identity document, she is a citizen of Great Britain and is only turning 59 this year.

Mhlongo said her woes began in 2004, when she was first issued with an ID. It stated that she was born in 1949, whereas her correct year of birth is 1947.

Picking up the mistake, she went back to have it rectified, and was surprised to discover that the new ID had the right age, but listed Great Britain as her country of birth. Going back a second time, she re-applied, only to have the same problem again — and it has been a losing battle ever since.

“This upsets me very much. I don’t know what to do. The doctor tells me he can’t help me because I’m old, I shouldn’t be working. But how can I get South African money, when I’m not from South Africa,” said Mhlongo.

According to Mhlongo, she has never set foot outside KZN, let alone come from Great Britain.

She became the custodian of her four grandchildren after losing her three children and as the sole provider, she fears her grandchildren will be left with nothing should something happen to her.

She says she can’t open accounts or borrow money because of the problems with her ID. Now she has been told that her files are lost, along with her photos.

She applied for her latest ID last year in August and it carries both the wrong age and country of birth.

Mhlongo is not alone in her attempts to get the Home Affairs Department to help to her.

The Witness recently reported that a Pietermaritzburg man approached the high court for help after battling for three years to obtain his identity document.

Wanda Ndlovu asked the court for an order reviewing and setting aside the department’s failure to issue him his ID and ordered it be issued within 30 days.

Responding to that article, Nikita Menesses-Turino (19) said she applied for her ID in January 2007, but has still has not received it.

Like Ndlovu, she said she made several re-applications. She was told that her ID number has been duplicated and she was given a new number.

She has been trying to check up on it for the past year and has found out that it is stuck in the fingerprint department in Pretoria.

“This issue is very stressful to my parents and myself because I cannot obtain a driver’s licence nor can I open a bank account. I can’t apply for my passport or even get a job.”

Home Affairs spokesman Mantshele Tau said staff will look into the above matters to establish what went wrong before they can offer a detailed explanations.

However, he said the department is committed to assist as much as it can.

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