Home Affairs resurrects dead Durban man after 2-year battle

2017-02-20 08:11
KZN man Jan Meyer was declared dead by Home Affairs two years ago.(Supplied)

KZN man Jan Meyer was declared dead by Home Affairs two years ago.(Supplied)

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Durban – A KwaZulu-Natal man thought he was being scammed when he received an email from his insurance company asking him to send copies of his death certificate.

Little did he know it would be the beginning of a two-year battle with the Department of Home Affairs to try and rescind his death certificate following, what he called, the department’s "unexplained error".

Umgeni Park, Durban resident, Jan Meyer, said that on a Friday afternoon in August 2015, he received an email from one of his insurance companies saying the executor of his estate wanted him to forward his death and tax certificates.

"At first I thought it was a scam until the following Tuesday, when my wife sent my ID number to the home affairs status verification services, and we received a response saying that I was deceased.

"We then sent her ID number and it said she was a widow."

The 67-year-old father of five said he went to home affairs in Umgeni for answers. He was told that, according to their records, he had died of natural causes on July 29.

"I was devastated when the home affairs official told me that I was really dead. I honestly thought it was a joke."

ID still worked

He grew concerned when three insurance companies stopped paying his monthly pension annuity. Meyer, a manager at an air-conditioning company, said the matter dragged on for two years. He escalated the matter to Minister Malusi Gigaba’s office.

"What is strange is that I still had my ID and I could use it. During the whole ordeal I went out of the country to visit my children more than five times. I went to all the airports and they never said anything to me. I could not believe it. I was the walking dead, my wife used to say," Meyer quipped.

What concerned him most was what his wife would do if he really died.

"How would she prove that I had died, twice? She would never be financially compensated by the insurance companies."

After being sent from pillar to post for two years, Meyer returned to home affairs and refused to leave until the matter was sorted out.

"We look back now and we laugh about it, but two weeks ago, I told them to sort it out."

Meyer said he was happy to be "alive again".

"I could not get a sound explanation as to what happened with my identity. I do suspect that something fraudulent happened and we were lucky enough to find out about it before I really died."

Read more on:    home affairs  |  durban  |  service delivery

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