Duplicate identity nightmare

2017-02-27 10:27
Musawenkosi Gumede’s (22) life is at a standstill as a result of being told that he shares his name, surname and identity number with another person.

Musawenkosi Gumede’s (22) life is at a standstill as a result of being told that he shares his name, surname and identity number with another person. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - A man has found himself embroiled in what seems to be a case of “identity theft”.

Musawenkosi Gumede (22) says he was told by Home Affairs that his name, surname and ID number are the same as someone else’s.

Gumede said the discovery has “brought my whole life to a standstill”.

The problems started when he was 14 years old. “My mother and I went to try and renew my social grant but I was turned back because my ID number matched an already existing ID number on the system.

“We reported the incident to Home Affairs in Pietermaritzburg and were told to bring my birth certificate, a letter from the hospital where I was born as well as my parents’ particulars and we did,” said Gumede.

Home Affairs reportedly provided the family with the “other” Musawenkosi Gumede’s birth certificate which reflected it was issued in 2009, nine years later than Gumede’s birth certificate issued in 2000.

Gumede said the Home Affairs official who assisted them initially told them that the fact that his birth certificate was dated earlier proved that he was first to receive the ID number and had the right to claim the document.

However, to this day Gumede said he has not got back his identity.

“We’ve been going back and forth from Home Affairs over the years and they kept telling us to return the following month to collect a new ID but I never got one. Even in December last year we were there and were told my new ID would be ready by January. And all of a sudden last week, we were told the new ID would only be ready in September,” said Gumede.

Gumede’s father Michael Gumede said the issue has caused the family a great deal of distress.

“As a family we are very frustrated because he [Musawenkosi] cannot do anything without a valid ID. He cannot get a job, a driver’s licence nor open a bank account. His life is stuck now and we don’t understand what the hold-up is. Both his mother and I are unemployed and now my son also cannot find employment.”

Home Affairs KZN provincial head Cyril Mncwabe said Home Affairs was investigating Gumede’s problem to see whether it was a case of identity theft or a “rare error” by the department.

He said cases like Gumede’s are not common, although some “similar isolated cases” did exist.

“We have had some cases of fraudulent birth certificates being issued by members within the department to unsuspecting members of the public,” said Mncwabe.

“However, there is a specific unit that investigates these cases and it is fairly easy to identify counterfeit documents as our serial numbers are different to those of forged ones,” said Mncwabe.

Read more on:    department of home affairs  |  pietermaritzburg  |  fraud

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