‘Home Affairs used their people, the police and their jails to take my life’
Shocking details of the abuse of a teacher – who went from being employed and functioning to living on the streets after Home Affairs officials wrongly decided he was an illegal immigrant – have emerged in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Reginald Vusumzi Sothomela, 69, won the last of several battles with Home Affairs, stretching over 20 years, finally getting an ID last month.
“They stole my life,” he said, describing how he had been sent from pillar to post, with Home Affairs officials insisting he was an illegal immigrant.
“Home Affairs used their people, the police and their jails to take my life,” Sothomela said.
After being stabbed in the eye while living on the streets, Sothomela is fast losing his sight.
An affidavit used to obtain a court order compelling the Department of Home Affairs to issue Sothomela with an ID details a series of administrative bungles – first starting in 1996 – that included arrests and deportations to Swaziland where Sothomela also held citizenship.
His mother, Gertrude Thokozile Abrahams, is a Swazi national.
According to records released by Home Affairs to Sothomela’s attorneys, his father, Njokweni Archibald Sotomela, who died in 2008, lived in Ferguson Road, Port Elizabeth, for all his life.
His parents, who never married, met when his mother worked as a nurse at Livingstone Hospital. He and his mother later moved to Swaziland where he matriculated in 1975 before studying teaching.
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