Gugulethu teacher Andile Mgwetyana who lost his identity document said he was asked to pay R4 400 to have it replaced.
But the Department of Home Affairs said the correspondence in which he was asked for this payment, definitely did not come from them.
It was when Mr Mgwetyana’s daughter was born in October 2013 and he had to register her birth at the Department of Home Affairs, that he realised he had lost his South African ID and passport.
A desperate search for the documents -and a trip back home to the Eastern Cape – turned up nothing and he decided to apply for a new ID.
Mr Mgwetyana told Vukani that when he went to reapply for his ID at Home Affairs’ Cape Town office, he was told to go to the Eastern Cape where he was born, to fetch copies of his parents identity documents and his primary school report as a proof that he was a South African.
And so he went to his home town of Butterworth where he was able to get a copy of his primary school report and then to Port Elizabeth, where his parents live, to get copies of their IDs.
He then took these documents to Home Affairs and made an application for a new ID, but to date he has still not received an identity document.
“After I submitted all the documentation, I was told they are lost. I am now tired of going there,” he said.
Vukani is in possession of copies of another ID application Mr Mgwetyana made in July this year.
Mr Mgwetyana also gave us screenshots of a Facebook Messenger chat session in which he raised his concerns with someone he believed to be Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Whoever was responding to Mr Mgwetyana, assured him that “this case can only be handled at the head office, just send me your email address let me direct the DG to give you a new id form fill” (sic).
Mr Mgwetyana then responded by giving his email address, was asked what nationality he was, and then told that the “minister” had signed his application and he should “go and make the payment”.
The payment referred to, was the R4 400 requested in a letter, dated November 4, 2016, sent via email to Mr Mgwetyana.
While at face value the letter, which bears the Home Affairs logo, looks authentic, it is littered with spelling and grammatical errors and requests that payment be made into the personal account of a FE Mphephu.
Among others, the letter says: “The fees of 4400 must be paid in a bank draft not cash so you are directed to send the amount in the name of the DHA account supervisor through his account details so he can cash it and purchase the draft and made the payment your behalf (sic)”.
Suspicious about the request for such a large sum of money and the instruction to pay it into a personal account, Mr Mgwetyana chose to hold on to his money.
This turns out to have been a wise decision because Thabo Mokgola, from the Department of Home Affairs, assured Vukani the letter was not from his department and said they would contact Mr Mgwetyana to resolve the matter and investigate circumstances surrounding the delay in replacing his ID. “In relation to the document, we can categorically state that the letter is not authentic at all,” he said.
But for now, Mr Mgwetyana remains without an identity document.