’Home Affairs says I’m dead’
Cape Town – For almost a decade, Khayelitsha resident Siyabonga Zingeni has been classified as “deceased” when work recruiters look into his background, making it impossible for him to provide for his family.
Zingeni said he first experienced issues relating to his identity in 2011 when he was abruptly fired from work. “I was working as a scaffolding team leader. I was fired. They said I’m blacklisted.
“After that my boss called me and advised me to go and work for another company at the V&A Waterfront – even there I did not last too long and I was told there was a problem with my ID and I should go to Home Affairs. I then went to Home
Affairs and told them the issue, and they said everything was fine,” he said.
An emotional Zingeni told the Cape Times yesterday that he was shocked when he went to vote in the municipal elections and was told at the voting station that his ID data read that he died in 2016.
“I was then in and out of Home Affairs trying to fix the issue, they said maybe my folder was mistakenly (switched) with another person’s name.
“I did fingerprints almost three times and they were sent to the Pretoria office and nothing has come back on what the issue is.
“Ever since this ‘deceased’ status on my ID I have been suffering. Even if there is work here in my community I can’t even apply because they always want an ID. You cannot imagine what I’m going through as a man with a family and children to take care of,” he said.
“I have six sisters, children, my mother and my grandmother, who is about to turn 90. I can’t even buy them anything. It’s worse when I speak about my own children, who are poor; it’s even hard to give them something for lunch. This situation has diminished my dignity as a man, things are really hard for me and my family.”
Zingeni’s wife, Sindiswa Mfolozi, said her husband has been given the ruaround by Home Affairs without any direction on where to go to fix the problem.
“They also asked him to go to the Eastern Cape, where he first did his schooling and to come with his mother’s ID, but it was his grandmother who did the ID. Even after all of that they still do this to him, as if he is the one who created this problem,” she said.
Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane said they were looking into the matter as all seemed in order.
“The Department of Home Affairs is investigating what could be the cause of the problem when the client transacts with external institutions, as this matter was investigated and his status was rectified as alive in terms of the National Population Register,” Hlabane said.
But community activist Anele Gabuza said there were many people with similar cases.
“This is not right, because a person can’t even get a job and they can’t even apply for housing because you can’t do that without an ID. Home Affairs must listen to the views and submissions of people at this point,” he said.
EFF provincial command team member Malibongwe Badi said he was approached by Mfolozi asking for assistance.
“I went with them to Home Affairs, and then we were told it’s a technical issue which is supposed to be fixed by Home Affairs’ head office. We also don’t know what is the challenge now and we are still waiting,” Badi said.