Residents desperate for ID help

2019-10-23 06:01

SACCA residents in Mkondeni say they want the Department of Home Affairs to intervene in helping them apply for new identity documents after their documents were destroyed in a fire that happened three weeks ago.

About 146 people lost their identity documents, banks cards as well as their birth certificates in a fire that is believed to have been started by a candle that was left unattended at night. As a result, 86 houses were destroyed.

One of the residents, ward committee member Muyiswa Gasela, told Echo that, since the fire happened, community members have been left in the dark and they do not know what to do in order to reapply for their identity documents.

He said community members do not even have the money to go the Home Affairs office in the CBD to apply for new documents.

“We are appealing to the Department of Home Affairs to please assist us in any way they can. If they have mobile vehicles that can assist us, we would be grateful if they could visit our area and help us reapply for our IDs.

“There are many of us and we cannot all go to Home Affairs at once as the line is always long at that office. It will be much easier if we can at least be given a day on which we can all come since we are experiencing the same problem.

“It is difficult because there is nothing you can do without an identity document — you cannot even apply for a bank card,” he said.

Gasela said that people who are working can’t even spend their salaries because they do not have bank cards.

“People are going to work everyday and getting paid but they do not have access to their money because they do not have bank cards as they are waiting to re-apply for their ID’s before they can apply for their bank cards.

“People are relying on loan sharks when they need money for groceries or if they want to travel to work.

“Some of the community members are still homeless after the fire and others are living in tents and community halls. Since they lost everything in the fire, they rely on donations that they get.”

Residents also claim that they have tried to engage with their ward councillor to find a solution, or to see how she can help them, but they say she is always unavailable and she does not answer her cellphone.

“Since the fire she has not even come to see us and see how she can help us. We are all alone and that is why we are now appealing to the department,” said Gasela.

Ward Councillor Sandra Lyne agreed that she has not been in Sacca since the fire but said she is in regular contact with some of the community leaders in the area. She said she will try to find out information on how the Department of Home Affairs can assist the community with their identity documents.

“The problem that we have is that the mobile Home Affairs offices are not equipped to produce the new identity cards — they only produce the green ID book.

“At the moment there is nothing I can do to help them with besides approaching the Department of Home Affairs to see if they can assist us,” she said, adding that she will then visit the area and inform the residents of the progress.

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