Home Affairs official told frail 86-year-old to 'go back to Lesotho'

2018-10-01 11:36
Mathabo Mofokeng, 86, lost her ID and Sassa card. (Nompendulo Ngubane/GroundUp)

Mathabo Mofokeng, 86, lost her ID and Sassa card. (Nompendulo Ngubane/GroundUp)

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An 86-year-old woman did not have access to her pension for three months because she lost her ID and SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) card and was unable to get new ones.

When she went to the Home Affairs office in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg, an official told her "to go back to Lesotho," GroundUp has reported.

Mathabo Mofokeng from Nhlazatshe had to survive on food donations from the women at her church. She lives alone and she can't hear properly.

Originally from Matatiele - not Lesotho - Mofokeng said she lived in KwaZulu-Natal since she was 18.

"All I want is my [identity] document. I don't know how I lost it. I have searched for it in the house. I can't find it. I don't even have money to ask someone to accompany me to the offices again. I can't go alone," a distressed Mofokeng told GroundUp a week ago.

"I'm scared to go back to Home Affairs' offices. An official told me she can't issue me [with] a new ID; I should go back to Lesotho," said Mofokeng. "There was a time I went three days without food."

Not the end of her troubles

Last week, GroundUp contacted Home Affairs provincial manager Cyril Mncwabe, who said he would assist.

"We will also check the matter of her ID not being issued."

On Friday, Mofokeng was issued with a temporary ID. But that was not the end of her troubles.

"I have people breaking into my home...I have become a victim and dependent on neighbours," said Mofokeng.

Bongi Mbatha from St Martin's Anglican Church in Edendale said Mofokeng's electricity had been cut off.

"There have been break-ins at her home. She is old now … Sometimes she tries to cook and burns the food … She sometimes forgets and she has hearing difficulties. The toilet she uses is not in a good state. She may fall inside at any time. The church built the toilet, but it's not enough," said Mbatha.

Social Development spokesperson Ncumisa Ndelu said the department would send a social worker.

"Based on the outcome of the assessment, she will be placed in a residential facility," said Ndelu.

Read more on:    sassa  |  home affairs  |  pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery  |  grants

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