ID hostage man now helps others

2010-12-26 12:44

It took a six-hour hostage drama for Soweto youngster Kabelo Thibedi to ­finally get his identity document (ID) ­following nine applications and a three-year wait.

Five years after he was slapped with a five-year suspended sentence for holding a home affairs official hostage with a toy gun to demand his ID, Thibedi (26) runs an organisation that helps people apply for IDs and other documents.

“What happened to me, the pain and the trauma, motivated me to establish this organisation,” Thibedi says.

The Kabelo Thibedi Identity Document Services and Information Centre works with home affairs in Soweto, which sends a mobile service to the area when the demand arises. “There are serious problems within home affairs – lack of service delivery and corruption,” Thibedi says.

He knows all too well the frustration of being without an ID. He was fired from his job as a laboratory assistant as a result of not having one.

Says Thibedi about the hostage drama that followed: “In the streets people were laughing at me, asking how I could do that for a mere ID. But some were sympathetic. At the time, suicide did cross my mind but I restrained myself.”

Thibedi is organising a march to the department of home affairs headquarters in Pretoria next year.

“We want to highlight the serious problems that people are having. Nothing has changed there. The system is still corrupt and there is no service delivery,” he says.

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