More ID foul-ups

2008-04-21 00:00

WAVES of incompetence appear to be sweeping through the Home Affairs Department.

The Witness has been flooded with complaints from the public about the department’s incompetence recently.

One of the complainants is Nkosinathi Dube, who applied for a new ID immediately after losing his old one in March last year, and has subsequently been issued — twice — with IDs bearing the wrong photos.

When he collected his document in June last year, he was shocked to find that it had a photo of a white man, who looked a few years younger than him.

“When I went to complain about this at the city’s Home Affairs offices, I was told to re-apply. This time I had to wait for about 10 months, and when it finally arrived, I was shocked again to find that it had a picture of an eight-year-old girl,” said Dube.

The ID book also looked old and used. His suspicions were confirmed when he saw that the date of issue was December 15, 2003. “I applied for this ID book in 2007, so the issue date should have been 2007 or 2008. This looks very fishy,” he said.

Dube, who is unemployed, is in desperate need of his ID to go for a driver’s test as his learner’s licence expires in September. He lives with his grandmother, who is the sole breadwinner in the family. He said she struggled to save money for him to get his licence so that he can get a job and help support the family.

Bukeka Donga said she was fortunate to get her ID. After a long wait, it arrived in a strange way two years ago. While she was waiting for it to arrive to replace the duplicate she had been issued, a friend came to her with her ID, saying that young men had found it in a public toilet.

“I applied for it in 2003. I had been visiting Home Affairs throughout 2004 and 2005 to fetch it. Then in 2006, my friend Maboni Mfokeng brought it to me, and it has all my correct details. She said that she found it in toilets in Berg Street. I was shocked, and skeptical, afraid that it must have been used to commit crime. I took it to the police, who didn’t pay any attention to my concern.

“But now I’m using it, and it seems to be fine,” said Donga.

Donga’s husband, Phiwayinkosi Mahlaba, has to re-apply, as his first application last year was fruitless.

“When I went to check in January, I was told that it was still in Pretoria, and I must return a week later. When I returned, I was again told to return two weeks later. Then I was told that it had arrived, but was still in one of the sealed boxes. Last week [April 8] I was told to re-apply,” said Mahlaba.

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