Alive and kicking, even though Home Affairs declared her dead

2019-03-05 05:51
Renthia van Rensburg who was declared dead in August 2017 (Supplied)

Renthia van Rensburg who was declared dead in August 2017 (Supplied)

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For more than a year, a 49-year old woman from Onderstepoort near Pretoria, has been struggling to get her life back.

In December 2017, Renthia van Rensburg realised there was a problem when her bank account and pension payments were frozen. This was after she resigned as a teacher to take up the full-time responsibility of looking after her disabled son.

READ: 'My worst nightmare' - dead woman walking

The bank told her the account had been frozen because the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) informed them that she had been declared dead.

"I managed to convince the bank that I was very much alive. They then released the money in my account," she said.

Frozen again

She didn't take steps to investigate the matter further.

However, in February 2018, her account was frozen again.

"I went to home affairs to try and establish what the problem was. I was then told that I was declared dead on August 25, 2017. I got such a fright that I fainted," she said.

Her 12-month nightmare started as she tried to convince the department that she was still very much alive.

"All my pleading to staff at the Arcadia offices of DHA fell on deaf ears."

After months of frustration she established that there were three death certificates reflected on her profile. 

"One said I died of unnatural causes and the others indicated that I died due to a heart attack."

She was eventually referred to the DHA head office where she was asked to reapply to have her status declared null and void.

"I handed in a sworn affidavit that I am indeed still alive. I even took my mother and father with to declare that I am their legitimate child."

Financial nightmare

After waiting for months without any feedback, she inquired about the progress of her application, only to be told that there was no record of it.

"Now I am forced to again apply. I'm currently financially in a very bad position and can't pay my debtors. And I'm still dead," an emotional Van Rensburg said.

David Hlabane, DHA spokesperson, confirmed that Van Rensburg was declared dead in 2017.

"She did apply to have her death status revoked but her application is still in process."

He could not say how long the process would take.

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