‘Apparently I was buried... but I’m alive!’

Northern Cape

Kimberley - “I want my life back! I’m not dead! I’m alive! Please give me my life back!”

This was the emotional plea from a Kimberley man, Emmanuel Ntimane, to the Department of Home Affairs after it allegedly certified him as “deceased”.

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Emmanuel Ntimane has been declared dead by the Department of Home Affairs and is unable to work or collect his Unemployment Insurance Fund. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Speaking to the DFA on Monday, Ntimane, 47, said that his life has came to a standstill since he was informed by the department’s offices in Mmabatho, in the North West, that he is “deceased”.

“I had gone to the department’s offices to renew my passport but when I got there, I got the fright of my life when the officials informed me that according to their records, I’m deceased. Apparently I was buried somewhere in Alberton. I told them that that was impossible because I’m alive and well . . . I’ve never been buried inside any grave before!” Ntimane said.

He said that although the incident happened on April 23 last year, he was still battling to get Home Affairs to correct his status.

“I have done everything the department said I must do, including supplying them with an affidavit stating that I’m not dead. Instead of helping me, the officials are sending me from pillar to post. I have even approached the Lawyers for Human Rights to investigate my case,” Ntimane said.

He pointed out that since he learned of his “deceased” status, he has lost everything including his job.

“I’m a good worker, even my managers would tell you. But they were forced to let me go because of this problem. My employer made it clear that they have to fire me because it would be illegal for them to employ someone who is dead. What is more frustrating is that I can’t even apply for new employment because of my death sentence!” Ntimane added.

Ntimane, who said that he was born in Mozambique but gained South African citizenship in 1986, pointed out that he was also battling to access his Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) money from the Department of Labour because of his situation.

“The Department of Labour cannot give this money to a dead man,” Ntimane added.

He showed the reporters a copy of a letter that he received from Lawyers for Human Rights which states that the organisation has lodged a query with the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs on Ntimane’s behalf.

Ntimane presented a copy of his death certificate which states that he died of natural causes. This certificate bears the stamp of the Department of Home Affairs in Mmabatho.

An attorney at Lawyers for Human Rights, Liesl Muller, confirmed that the organisation has lodged a query with the department on this matter.

“The department has informed us that it is working on our query but they are yet to come back to us,” Muller said.

She pointed out that her organisation is dealing with numerous cases of this nature.

“If the department fails to respond to our query, we will have no choice but to take the matter to court,” she added.

The manager of the Department of Home Affairs in the North West, Irene Mantlhasi, said that the department would investigate this matter and would respond as soon as possible.

Ntimane has meanwhile requested the government to resolve his problem so he can continue with his life.

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