Woman’s life put on hold by iden­tity fraud

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHAYA KOKO @khayakoko88

FRAUD is sus­pected to be be­hind the woes of a South African, who has been blocked from all of­fi­cial sys­tems af­ter be­ing classed as an “il­le­gal” im­mi­grant.

Nce­bakazi Leona Nom­pula, 37, is un­able to ac­cess her bank ac­count or reg­is­ter her com­pany with SA Rev­enue Service (Sars).

The qual­i­fied chem­i­cal en­gi­neer was driven to con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide as a re­sult of her plight.

“My kids will not have food un­til this is sorted (out). I (have con­sid­ered) tak­ing my own life be­cause the coun­try I was born in does not want me any more,” she lamented.

Nom­pula’s or­deal be­gan in Septem­ber last year when she went to the Al­ber­ton Home Af­fairs of­fice to ap­ply for a smart ID card.

“The lady at the (Home Af­fairs) counter told me their sys­tems had me (listed) as an il­le­gal im­mi­grant.

“This is de­spite hav­ing my green ID book in my pos­ses­sion, and hav­ing had two pre­vi­ous ID books and a pass­port,” Nom­pula told The Star.

The al­leged theft of her iden­tity emerged af­ter a se­ries of e-mailed cor­re­spon­dence be­tween Home Af­fairs and Nom­pula, which were ap­par­ently in­ter­cepted by peo­ple pur­port­ing to be the di­rec­tor-gen­eral Mkuseli Apleni and for­mer home af­fairs min­is­ter Malusi Gigaba.

One of the e-mails, signed by “Mkuseli Apleni”, stated: “Af­ter se­ries of nec­es­sary ver­i­fi­ca­tions on your doc­u­ments, it clearly in­di­cates that you’re a true cit­i­zen of this coun­try (South Africa).

“Without any prej­u­dice or de­lay on your re­quest as it’s un­der pro­cess­ing, we hereby urge you to make a pay­ment of ad­min­is­tra­tive charges of R7 850 only to the De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs as it’s very es­sen­tial to ev­ery in­di­vid­ual or re­cip­i­ent of this re­gards, to en­able me fur­ther the pro­cess­ing without de­lay (sic).”

In her ef­forts to clear the is­sue with Home Af­fairs, Nom­pula pro­vided the de­part­ment with doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence of a copy of her mother’s iden­tity book and the death cer­tifi­cate of her fa­ther who died in 2010.

Both doc­u­ments were au­then­ti­cated by the SAPS and con­tained valid ID num­bers.

Nom­pula also pro­vided a let­ter from a school prin­ci­pal and from a lo­cal chief, who con­firmed she “is the bona fide child” in the district.

De­spite her ef­forts, Home Af­fairs still could not change her “il­le­gal” sta­tus.

Spokesper­son Thabo Mok­gola con­firmed Nom­pula’s ID num­ber might have been du­pli­cated “for ne­far­i­ous means”, and a “wide-rang­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion” had been launched.

“We are aware that there are un­scrupu­lous el­e­ments (cre­at­ing) so­cial me­dia and e-mail ac­counts pur­ported to be­long to the min­is­ter of home af­fairs as well as the di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the de­part­ment,” said Mok­gola.

“We wish to cau­tion our clients and re­it­er­ate that the de­part­ment utilises of­fi­cial plat­forms to com­mu­ni­cate with clients.

“Pre­scribed fees for ser­vices are (listed) on our web­sites and those who seek fur­ther clar­ity are wel­come to con­tact the de­part­ment di­rectly.”

He said the Gaut­eng pro­vin­cial man­ager of home af­fairs had con­tacted the client.

Nom­pula con­firmed she had been con­tacted by Home Af­fairs.

Asked whether the “ne­far­i­ous” block­ing of cit­i­zens and the at­ten­dant cor­rup­tion was a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence, Mok­gola re­sponded: “We are not aware of such sit­u­a­tions. How­ever, the de­part­ment has a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to fraud and cor­rup­tion. Any of­fi­cial found to be in trans­gres­sion of the law is dealt with ac­cord­ingly.”

But Mok­gola was un­able to say when Nom­pula’s iden­tity would be re­stored.

Nom­pula was scathing in her crit­i­cism of the de­part­ment, say­ing the busi­ness she wanted to start in March – GEE So­lu­tions – had stag­nated as re­sult of her plight.

“I was told I could not reg­is­ter it with Sars be­cause I am blocked. When I go to the bank to get a let­ter so I can con­tinue to estab­lish the com­pany, I am told that my ID has been blocked by Home Af­fairs – mean­ing I can no longer have ac­cess to my funds,” a dis­tressed Nom­pula added.

‘I no longer have ac­cess to my bank ac­count’

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