Dept ordered to give woman ID

2010-06-22 00:00

A SEVEN-YEAR battle by a Pietermaritzburg woman, Thirusha Naidoo (24), to obtain a valid identity document resulted in a high court order granted by Judge Kevin Swain yesterday, instructing the director-general for Home Affairs to process her application for her identity document “forthwith”.

Not only could she not obtain an identity document, but Naidoo discovered in 2005 that her identity number had in fact been duplicated and her name changed on the Home Affairs Department’s system to “Joyce Naidoo”.

She told The Witness after the court hearing yesterday that she was informed on May 14 that she has now been allocated her “own” identity number — but she still has no document.

Her lack of an identity document affected her life in numerous ways, but most critically she could not be admitted as an attorney, despite being fully qualified.

Naidoo said she secured employment at the law firm Govindasamy and Pillay, which is owned by her cousin, Poobalan Govindasamy, but the tasks she can complete are severely restricted because she has not been admitted.

This also affects her salary.

Naidoo said yesterday that since being allocated her individual identity number, she has applied to be admitted as an attorney on June 29, but is uncertain if her application will succeed if she does not have her identity document by then.

She told The Witness her experiences at the hands of Home Affairs have been enormously frustrating and made her life a “total misery”.

She has made a total of eight unsuccessful applications for an identity document and been the victim of “so many broken promises” she hardly dares hope that this time round she will succeed.

The lack of an identity document resulted in her being unable to vote in elections, being unable to open a bank account in her name, obtain a learner’s or driver’s licence, and hindered her admission as an attorney. “In effect you are like a child,” she said.

According to Naidoo’s affidavit, she first applied for her identity document on January 2, 2003, in Pietermaritzburg and was told that the application would be processed in about three months. She eventually only received it in August 2003, and while the initial document correctly reflected her name and date of birth, she was “startled” to discover that the photograph was of someone else.

That was the beginning of her struggle for a valid document.

Naidoo said it is only through “God’s grace” she has got as far as she has in her life without her identity document. She said she is grateful to her family for their support as well as her firm of attorneys and advocate Kerusha Pillay.


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