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Johannesburg - A 23-year-old Soweto mother is over the moon after the Department of Home Affairs reissued her ID, thanks to interventions by The Sunday Independent.

The department confiscated the ID last year.

Puseletso Mokoena said her woes started when she went to home affairs last October to apply for her children’s birth certificates.

An official confiscated her ID, accusing her of being a foreigner with a fake ID because she had obtained it only last year in January when she was already in her 20s.

Mokoena explained that both her parents had died in 2000 when she was six and that she had been raised by her aunt.

She grew up without having any birth certificate and was assisted by a neighbour to apply for her parents’ death certificates before she could apply for her own birth certificate, which explains why she only got her ID in January 2017.

Then in October last year she went to the Orlando West home affairs office to apply for her children’s birth certificates, only to encounter the hostile official .

“The lady who was assisting me asked me why my ID shows that I applied when I was old and I told her that it was because my parents died before I had a birth certificate.

“She then took my ID and said she was going to investigate if I was not a foreigner. The lady said she will call me back after the investigation was completed,” Mokoena said.

“But it is now over five months since the investigation started and every time I go there she tells me to complete different forms.

“This has been frustrating me as I want to apply for my children’s grants. I also want to go back to school so that I can complete my matric.

“I didn’t write my matric because I did not have an ID.

"Even at school now they want birth certificates for my children.”

Mokoena said her family was destitute because no one was working so the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grant was needed in order to help financially.

“My auntie is not working and we rely on people who are renting. We also sell imbamba (traditional beer) for survival.

“Last December I got a job but because I did not have an ID to open a bank account the employer said he cannot let me work.”

The Sunday Independent reporter then accompanied Mokoena to home affairs on Thursday and it took less than two hours for her to get her ID back.

The officials also promised to speed up processing her children’s birth certificates.

The department said the delay was caused by the fact that Mokoena was not submitting the documents required on time.

When asked why her ID document was confiscated during the investigation process, an official said he was not mandated to speak to the media but added it was normal procedure.

A delighted Mokoena said: “I am so happy that finally I have got back my ID and now I will go and register to write my matric and to look for a job.

“I will also apply for a Sassa grant for my children as soon as their birth certificates are ready. I would like to thank The Sunday Independent for helping me.”

Sunday Independent