Bungle has left mom ‘alive but dead’
HOME Affairs documentation has it that Mbalenhle Precious Mpanza died seven years ago of natural causes, but the 30-year-old mother is very much alive, albeit battling to survive without official identity.
Mpanza said she was shocked in 2014 when Independent Electoral Commission officials, who had scanned her ID at her voting station, told her that she had been declared dead by Home Affairs.
“I burst into tears,” the unemployed mother said. “I had no idea how this happened and why.
They told me I could not vote, and I have not been able to do so since,” said Mpanza in an interview with Independent Media in uMlazi, outside Durban, this week.
“It feels like my rights have been taken away from me.”
Mpanza said that when she first went to the Department of Home Affairs offices in Prospecton three years ago, an official told her that she been declared dead in September 2012, having “died in uMzimkhulu”.
“I have never been to Mzimkhulu or know anyone there,” said Mpanza.
She said she later got a call from an official, saying that she could expect an SMS followed by a letter from Pretoria, declaring that she was back on their system as living person. Three years later, Mpanza has still not received any documentation and her life has stalled.
“Life has been a roller-coaster. I have lost count of the number of trips I have made to different branches of Home Affairs every year,” she said.
Mpanza is dependent on a social welfare grant to care for her nineyear-old daughter, Gcino.
However, the grant has not been paid since 2014.
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has advised her that she must first sort out the death certificate issue with the Department of Home Affairs. As far as Sassa is concerned, she is still a dead person.
Mpanza showed Independent Media her now-dysfunctional identity document.
She has been told she can only get a new ID once the death certificate is officially out of the system.
“Without a valid ID, I cannot look for work or study nursing to build a future for myself,” said Mpanza.
“I rely on both my mother and younger sister for my daughter’s support.”
She is also concerned that should she meet with an unfortunate accident and actually die, her family will have difficulties claiming against her funeral policy because she has previously been declared dead.
“Ngife ngiphila!” (I am alive but dead).
Neither the Department of Home Affairs nor Sassa has responded to queries on Mpanza’s unfortunate case.
Officially declared dead by Home Affairs in 2012, Mbalenhle Mpanza can’t find work, exercise her right to vote or access her parenting support grant.