Battle for ID goes to court

2008-02-26 00:00

A Pietermaritzburg man, Wanda Ndlovu, has approached the high court for help over a three-year battle to obtain his identity document from the Home Affairs Department.

Ndlovu, whose leg was amputated after he was hit by a car in 1994, said in papers before the high court yesterday that he has tried in vain since 2004 to get his identity document.

“The functionaries of the respondents [the minister and director-general of Home Affairs] have pushed me from pillar to post and back again. In desperation I now turn to the court to rescue me from this unrelenting merry-go-round,” he states.

Ndlovu’s case was adjourned by consent by Judge Chimon Patel yesterday until March 18. There is no indication in the court papers whether Home Affairs intends to oppose the application.

Ndlovu is asking the court for an order reviewing and setting aside the department’s failure to issue him with his identity document, and ordering that it be issued within 30 days.

Ndlovu is being assisted by the Legal Aid Board.

Ndlovu, of kwaPata in Pietermaritzburg, says he first applied for the document on September 28, 2004, but was always told the document had not yet come from Pretoria and that he should continue to check, which he did monthly in vain.

On December 22, 2006, he submitted a fresh application form and had his fingerprints taken again. Despite numerous costly trips to the offices of Home Affairs subsequently to collect the identity document, it never materialised.

Ndlovu says that on August 15, 2007, he lodged a third application, again having his fingerprints taken. When he then returned a month later he was told there was a “problem” as his identity number was being “shared” by someone else and was “duplicated”.

“I was advised by one Nyokana at Home Affairs, Pietermaritzburg, that it would take another 10 years to obtain my identity document.”

Ndlovu said that also in August he approached the Legal Aid Board for help, and three letters written to the department by the Legal Aid Board received no response.

Ndlovu said he is suffering hardship and prejudice as a result of not having an identity document. This includes lost opportunities for employment as prospective employers insist on copies of the document; exclusion from taking a driver’s licence test and the inability to apply for a government disability grant.

Ndlovu says he also can’t open a bank account or even obtain a funeral insurance policy, and also cannot finalise a motor vehicle accident claim in respect of the accident in which he was injured.

“I submit that I am entitled to be issued with an identity document … The delay on the part of the respondents and their functionaries is unreasonable and unconscionable,” he submits.

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