‘Too young for pension’

2015-07-14 06:00
Lea Sampson has been struggling for nearly three years to have her details updated at the home affairs department after her previous ID was stolen. Sampson says she is 62 years old but home affairs registered her as 52.


PHOTO: 
Chevon Booysen

Lea Sampson has been struggling for nearly three years to have her details updated at the home affairs department after her previous ID was stolen. Sampson says she is 62 years old but home affairs registered her as 52. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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A 62-year-old woman is at wit’s end after nearly three years of struggling to get a new identification document and her pension payout.

From her shack dwelling in Uitkykbos informal settlement, the demotivated woman says she does not know what to do anymore. She found out she was registered as ten years younger than her actual age on the home affairs system and because of this she doesn’t qualify for pension.

Lea Sampson says she has been struggling to obtain a new ID for the past two and a half years after her old one was stolen.

Sampson says it has been an uphill battle to get a new ID issued. She even approached a community worker to help her.

“It has been difficult because we make frequent trips to the home affairs offices in Wynberg but we never came right. I just need this sorted because it has caused me so much stress,” Sampson laments.

She says she has been struggling to get her ID details up to date as this is the only thing standing in the way of getting her pension.

Tanya Meyer, who has helped Sampson, says they were “given the run around for a long time”.

“I have been trying to get Sampson the help she needs by accompanying her to the home affairs offices. When we got there the first time they told us they could not find her on the system,” Meyer says.

She says visits to home affairs after that proved even less fruitful as they have not made headway in nearly three years.

“It cannot go on like this. This woman is a pensioner and she is struggling at the moment to make ends meet,” Meyer says.

“We had to get an affidavit stating that her ID was stolen and at the Wynberg offices Sampson had to be sworn in by me to confirm she is a citizen,” Meyer says.

After this was done, Meyer says Sampson was “eventually” found on the system. “But then we sat with a bigger problem. We then found out she was registered as 52 years old instead of 62. Trying to rectify this has been a headache on its own,” Meyer says.

Sampson adds the ordeal has caused her discomfort in her community as well.

“When the people are drunk here in the settlement they say things like I don’t even have an ID and I do not exist in this country. It’s traumatising and hurts me,” Sampson says.

According to Meyer and Sampson they were subsequently referred by home affairs to a doctor so her age may be “predicted”.

“We went to the doctor and were told they cannot predict the age. Every time it seems we have made progress, we move back,” she says.

Wynberg home affairs department spokesperson Nazeem Andrews says Sampson has to apply to have her details corrected.

“If no application was done then that will be the first step. To apply to have the date amended [will cost] R70 with a waiting period of about 6 months and longer. Then after the amendment we can look at a temporary ID and ID card,” Andrews says.

He adds that citizens are sometimes referred to a doctor to have an age assessment done if they do not have proof of birth in the form of a birth certificate or baptismal certificate.

“If she has an ID with a certain date and she feels it’s wrong then she needs to prove to the department which is the correct date with proof in form of documentation.”

Andrews advised Sampson to visit her nearest home affairs offices for more information and to get application forms for the rectification.

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