ID in hand worth much

2015-09-01 06:00
Stewert Pietersen is one of the participants from 7de Laan informal settlement to have received his ID smart card through an ID drive run by a local religious organisation. In a study the organisation Destiny Changers Difference Makers discovered tha

Stewert Pietersen is one of the participants from 7de Laan informal settlement to have received his ID smart card through an ID drive run by a local religious organisation. In a study the organisation Destiny Changers Difference Makers discovered tha

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Many people go without one of the most important documents in life – an identity document.

But a local organisation has set out to change that for hundreds of people living in Strandfontein informal settlements.

In conjunction with the local home affairs office and an independent sponsor, several people have already received their IDs.

And with the completion of its initiative in 7de Laan settlement, the Destiny Changers, Difference Makers (DCD) organisation is taking its project to the three other settlements in Camp Road.

Masicendani, Opperman’s Court and City Mission are all part of the initiation phases.

Sandy Oorstendorp, DCD director, says this drive is the first of its kind and was done in three phases.

“Phase one was the easiest. That entailed re-issues of lost or damaged IDs. In Phase 2, people knew their ID numbers but could not find it. Phase three is the difficult one – this is where we deal with late registrations and those who do not know their ID numbers. This requires more work,” she explains.

“Many people do not realise how important your ID is,” says John Davids of DCD.

He explains that a baby had been left at the morgue for three months because she was not registered with home affairs and did not have a birth certificate.

The national department of home affairs confirms the importance of this document on its website.

“An identity document is important to get as soon as you are eligible as it proves your identity. The green bar-coded identity book is also a legal form of identity when dealing with public and private institutions,” it reads.

“There are many occasions when you will be requested to provide a copy of your ID book – for example for access to housing, education and healthcare services; to apply for a driver’s licence or a job; when entering into business agreements and even when registering for the Unemployment Insurance Fund. You will also need your identity book to register to vote in the general and municipal elections.”

With the lack of their IDs these residents were unable to do any of these things.

But Oorstendorp says they have learnt much more through conducting their research at the camps.

“We had to be respectful when residents did not want to give us the information, but when they did we learnt a lot about the skills and talents that they have,” she says.

From this, a community business was born.

Emporhben – which means empower the sons – is a company that aims to empower the community.

And empowering the community is the only satisfaction they get out of it, says Oorstendorp.

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