Publicity — and a helpful official — end long fight for ID

2010-07-16 00:00

AYANDA Nxumalo’s long struggle to get an identity document has finally come to an end. She received her ID book on Wednesday, a day after The Witness published her story.

“I was so excited last night I could hardly sleep. I slept with it [the ID] under my pillow. I can’t believe how fast things moved after contacting you [The Witness],” said an upbeat Nxumalo.

Within the first hour of having received her ID, Nxumalo had already opened a bank account, a privilege she enjoyed for the first time at the age of 22.

She has also been able to submit all the forms required for the release of her father’s pension fund, which had been allocated for her studies since her father’s death in 2007, but which she could not access without an ID.

While applying for the ID, Nxumalo was told by the Home Affairs branch in her home town of Greytown that she shares an ID number with someone else. In the last four years, she has been to Home Affairs on numerous occasions to get the problem solved. She reapplied several times without success.

It has since been discovered that her ID had been sitting at the Greytown branch since April 28, although she and her mother had been back and forth to the offices only to be told that the ID had not arrived.

The Witness understands that Home Affairs were searching for Nxumalo’s ID using the old ID number after she had been issued a new one.

“I have no idea why I never received a letter notifying me that my ID had come since they had my address.

“But what is more baffling is how they couldn’t connect the fact the that the ID number had been changed.”

Nxumalo has regional office manager Sibongiseni Biyase to thank for his speedy handling of the situation. But she said she found it disappointing that it took going to the paper to be taken seriously.

Biyase told The Witness the mistake that some people make is that when they don’t get satisfaction from government departments, they fail to ask for office managers.

“Since taking over, I always tell staff not to send people away without first referring the matter to me. I am in a position to liaise with people at head office, thus speeding up the process.”

With the burden of uncertainty removed, Nxumalo’s next mission is going back to school and getting a proper job.

“It feels like I have had a rebirth. I feel like a new person. I keep pinching myself to see if it is real.”

She believes she has scored a double victory since the people she works with at the hair salon now also receive assistance after consulting Biyase.

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