PE man in battle over lost identity
Worn-out fragments of papers are the only evidence Xolani Ntozine has to prove that he has battled for the past seven years to claim back his lost identity.
He has been in and out of home affairs offices, desperately trying to get them to believe he is who he says he is, but every effort he makes is met with resistance, he says.
Born in Uitenhage 50 years ago, Ntozine – a father of three – said his identity document mysteriously disappeared in 2012. When he tried to apply for a new one, he hit a snag.
“The officials [at the North End office] kept on saying I share fingerprints with a man from Kwazakhele – therefore, they can’t reissue an identity document to me.
“My life is stagnant. I can’t find a job. I depend on handouts to support my three children. I feel helpless and worthless in my country of birth.
“Nobody is willing to help me. Please help me to claim back my identity,” a frustrated Ntozine said.
Home affairs spokesperson Thabo Makgola said the matter was under investigation.
Ntozine, who now lives in Izinyoka on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, reflected on his anguish at seeing millions of his compatriots going to the polling stations on Wednesday while he was restricted from exercising his rights.
“There is no office I have never approached. I even approached the mayor. However, I was informed I must put my grievance in writing.
“I went to the ANC’s office but they also did little to help.
“The last time I voted was when president Thabo Mbeki was voted into office.
“I love my country and the fact that I could not cast my vote is heartbreaking.
“I am a South African and deserve to be recognised, but without an ID I am nothing,” he lamented.
He said he was told that the home affairs system reflected his identity and fingerprints as those of a man named Themba Wiseman Ngoma of Kwazakhele, born in 1964.
Ntozine said approaching the newspaper was his last hope after he had been sent from pillar to post.
Makgola said home affairs would investigate and requested Ntozine’s particulars.
“The matter has been referred to the provincial manager for home affairs in the Eastern Cape. He will institute an investigation to get to the bottom of this case,” he said.