Johannesburg - Joseph Khoza could hardly contain his excitement after he finally received an ID book from the Department of Home Affairs after a 28-year-long struggle.
His ID had been blocked on and off since 1988 because of a department mix-up which repeatedly alleged that he was an illegal immigrant from Mozambique.
But on Friday, an excited Khoza collected his ID book from the department’s Germiston offices.
“This is a huge relief. I am very excited. My wife was saying we need to throw a huge party,” he said.
The Star first published a story about Khoza’s ID troubles on June 1. But by the beginning of this month, he seemed to be no closer to getting his identity documents.
His smartcard application had been declined, even after the department’s spokesman, Mayihlome Tshwete, had said the block had been lifted
He was told to apply for the green barcoded ID book instead, which he did at the beginning of last month.
Two weeks ago, he was informed that his ID was ready for collection, but because he worked in the Northern Cape, he had to wait until he visited home to collect it from the Germiston branch.
To make the story sweeter, a Home Affairs official from the Kempton Park branch, who had rudely told Khoza she would call the police to have him deported when he had asked her for help, allegedly apologised to him after he received his ID book.
Khoza said she had even undertaken to help him get his passport. But he still plans to take action against the department for the losses he suffered as a result of its bungles.
The 47-year-old Khoza has been wrongfully arrested a number of times, has lost an international job, can’t access his money from a bank and couldn’t register his daughter in school, all because of his ID woes.
“I’m going to sue them. If they want to settle out of court, I’ll speak to them,” he said. “I want to show them all my payslips and prove to them this is the damage they’ve done.
“It boils down to the loss of income. What I’m earning today is 25 percent compared to what I was earning in 2012, when I lost my job.”