Marriage nightmare for wife

The marriage certificate that states Rashika Timul is married to an unknown man.

The marriage certificate that states Rashika Timul is married to an unknown man.

Published Feb 18, 2018

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Durban - For the past decade, a young unemployed mother, caught up in a fake marriage scam, has been trying to secure child support grants for her two daughters but has repeatedly hit a brick wall.

Rashika Timul, 34, of Phoenix, told POST of the stress and hardship she has had to endure after a man, believed to be a foreign national, married and divorced her without her knowledge.

The most taxing part, she said, was watching the daughters she mothered with her “real” husband, Mahomed Khan, 37, suffer indignity as a result of the fraudulent act.

Timul and Khan married in a customary Islamic (nikah) wedding in 2003.

“It has been the most stressful 10 years of my life. I don’t know where else to turn,” said Timul.

“Mahomed and I are both unemployed and our children, who are growing girls, are suffering as we cannot provide them with the basic necessities such as sanitary and other hygienic products. We have had casual jobs over the years but times are tough and jobs are not easy to come by if you don’t have qualifications.”

Timul learnt about the fraudulent marriage in 2008 while trying to obtain child support grants for her girls, who are now aged 14 and 11.

Since then, she claims she has been given the runaround by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), through which beneficiaries can apply for grants, and the Department of Home Affairs.

The surname on her identity document, explained Timul, did not match that on their databases.

“When I went to a Sassa office in 2008 to apply for child support grants, the employee behind the counter typed in my ID number and then struck my name off the register. When I enquired why she had done that, she responded ‘don’t you know who you are married to?’”

Timul said the woman’s statement had baffled her.

When she looked at the computer, she said she almost fainted when the surname Hussain stared back at her.

“The woman then said I must claim child support from my husband (Shahzad Hussain). I kept telling her I did not know who Hussain was and that I was married to the father of my children. She advised me to go to Home Affairs and return with a letter stating they were investigating a fraudulent marriage.”

She received no joy when she approached the Department of Home Affairs, she said.

“Instead of attempting to rectify the situation, they wanted to know why Sassa denied my children their grants.”

While there, she learnt that the fraudulent marriage had taken place in Johannesburg but there was no information on when the marriage had taken place.

Her identity number appeared on the alleged marriage certificate with only the man’s name and date of birth - no identity number or signatures.

She was then sent away without the letter Sassa had requested.

Year in, year out, she struggled to get her name cleared.

The situation took a new turn last year when she returned to the Department of Home Affairs - only to discover she had been divorced in Kokstad.

“I thought I would now be able to get the grant for my children but was informed I needed a divorce decree, so my surname could be changed. At this point I don’t know where else to turn. I don’t have money to run to court or continue to go to Sassa and home affairs. The travel costs could instead be used to buy food for home.”

Her husband said: “Our children should not be denied what has been allocated by government for impoverished families.”

According to Sassa, to qualify for the R380 monthly child support grant, one must meet the requirements of the means test.

If you are single, you must not earn more than R45600 per annum (R3800) per month and if you are married, your combined income must not be more than R91200 (R7600).

Sassa provincial spokesperson Vusi Mahaye said the issue would need to be resolved by the Department of Home Affairs. “We are only able to process grants if we are provided with the authentic documentation. The issue of the surname being changed without consent has to be addressed by the department. It is not a Sassa issue.”

The Department of Home Affairs

had not commented at the time of

publication.

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