Radio producer gets 24-hour ultimatum
Lucas Ledwaba, City Press
Johannesburg - The department of home affairs may be slapped with a lawsuit after what was supposed to be a routine passport renewal resulted in a dramatic 24-hour ultimatum to a South African resident.
Kaya FM producer Thabo Shole-Mashao is taking legal action against the department after it emerged that his identity number was registered under someone else’s name.
His lawyer, Katlego Mmuoe, confirmed to City Press that legal action will be instituted against the department.
"There will be no holding back. People should be brought to book," he said.
Shole-Mashao’s nightmare started on Thursday when he went to the home affairs offices in Roodepoort to apply for a new passport.
Instead, an official allegedly told him that according to the records, he was an illegal immigrant. He was then given 24 hours to prove that he was a South African citizen or be jailed.
Shole-Mashao was given a handwritten list of documents required to prove that he was a South African.
These included a handwritten birth certificate, letters from both primary and secondary schools, a letter from the hospital where he was born, a baptism certificate and an original marriage certificate.
He was also told to bring either parents or elderly relatives along who would testify that he was indeed who he said he was.
Shole-Mashao suspects he is a victim of identity theft because his identity number also allegedly belongs to a Nhlanhla Ndlovu.
The incident sparked a frenzy of activity for Shole-Mashao.
In a bid to prove he was the legitimate owner of his ID, he rushed to his primary school and church, both in Dobsonville, Soweto.
He then dashed to Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, also in Soweto, where he was born in 1979 and then to Florida, where he went to high school in the 1990s.
“Both my parents have passed on. My grandparents, both maternal and paternal, have also passed on.
"Now how was I going to bring those documents to home affairs?” said Shole-Mashao, who was at the same office on Friday to have his fingerprints taken and sent to head office in Pretoria in a bid to resolve the matter.
Attempts to get comment from home affairs on Friday were unsuccessful.
"This has caused me and my family so much trauma," said Shole-Mashao.
On Friday morning, after his story and photograph were splashed on the front page of the Sowetan newspaper, he was inundated with calls from distressed relatives and friends from far and wide.
Mmuoe said that although it was still too early to determine the finer details of the planned lawsuit, he said they would consider the fact that Shole-Mashao’s right to privacy was violated and that he had suffered emotional trauma as a result.
"Citizens have the right to have their privacy protected. Identity fraud is quite serious. We don’t know what more has happened to him as a result of this," said Mmuoe.