Blocked ID: Woman blames home affairs for heart surgery

A Limpopo woman who previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry blames her poor heart condition, which resulted in her undergoing surgery on the Department of Home Affairs.

 This was as a result of a “flawed” identity document (ID) assigned to her by the department.

Elizabeth Shingange, 46, of Nkowankowa in Tzaneen, says the department, which she compared to “Satan”, cost her the capacity to earn a living more than 10 years ago after it unfairly blocked her ID.

She says her struggles are far from over, despite her ID being ultimately restored three years ago. “I’m a dead woman walking. It is painful to be unemployed because of home affairs’ poor decision 13 years ago. Aside from lost work opportunities, I am still a victim. Home affairs, in my opinion, is worse than Satan. They devastate your life and then moved on as if they were angels.

“The fact that my ID was restored did not change the reality that I am still blacklisted and unable to purchase items on credit or receive funding to establish a small business.”

Shingange’s problems began in 2007, when she misplaced her ID book in a hotel room in Boksburg North, Gauteng.

“I had travelled to Gauteng for a job interview and was successful, however, they later rejected me due to difficulties with my ID. I investigated the situation on my own and was able to track down the address of the fraudster who was using my ID. The police were able to arrest the suspect, but she was released after six months.

“Instead of being praised as a hero, the home affairs officials sent me a letter warning me not to conduct ID fraud again.”

Shingange, who lives with her parents, said the fraudster used her ID to incur debts and participate in illegal activities.

“Fraudsters do not create IDs. They obtain them from home affairs personnel. Their heinous deeds have now reduced me to destitution. I am depressed and I had to undergo heart surgery.

“To be honest, I’m not doing well. Despite passing all interviews, I have lost more than 12 jobs in the last ten years. When my employers learn about my identification issues, they fired me right away.”

Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) represented more than 100 blocked ID victims in a case heard last week in the Pretoria High Court. The case was reserved for judgment.

According to Thandeka Chauke, an LHR representative, “the government has no right to block people’s IDs when investigating fraud cases”.

Chauke said nearly 700 000 people’s IDs were blocked, which is unconstitutional.

Home affairs spokesman Siyabulela Qoza invited Shingange to approach the department for help repairing her credit history.

“The department usually issues a letter each time a case is resolved. We also issue a reprint if necessary. She should feel free to request a reprint,” said Qoza.

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