Charmaine Ramkhelawan, 60, hit pension age last September and should have been collecting a pension grant for at least six months, but the two numbers have prevented that from happening.
She said the issue started in 2010 when she applied at the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) for a disability grant, but was told they could not pick up her fingerprints on the system. She was advised to go to Home Affairs to rectify the issue.
Sassa said she was not a South African citizen and could therefore not qualify for the grant, she said.
“They are making me run around. I have also reached pension age and I need it to survive,” Ramkhelawan said.
She said she lost her birth certificate while moving and had to apply for an unabridged document.
“Home Affairs says there is no feedback from Pretoria. I told them I am a South African citizen and they wanted all of my particulars, and those of my late parents and my sister. But the office in Pretoria sent through a foreign ID number,” she said.
Ramkhelawan said the problem had put her life on hold because she cannot do anything related to banking. She has to borrow money to go to the Home Affairs office in Umgeni Road, which requires her to take two taxis from Umbilo.
She said she wept the last time she went to the Home Affairs offices as staff kept asking where she was born.
Ramkhelawan was born on a farm in oThongathi. “I’m desperate, helpless and have no income. I want my ID.”
She said her sisters live in oThongathi and her son in Cape Town. She fends for herself in Durban.
Home Affairs provincial manager Cyril Mncwabe said he was aware of the matter, which was being investigated in Pretoria. He said it was a mystery that Ramkhelawan would have two ID numbers, one of a foreign national and a South African one.