Residents ecstatic with new IDs after Dlamini Zuma's visit

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cape Town - Five Khayelitsha residents were ecstatic after the Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and two local ward councillors made surprise visits to their homes to personally hand deliver new ID documents to them.

Nozipho Skhikhi, 62, who Dlamini Zuma called upon, broke down in tears outside the Khayelitsha home she stays in with a friend, when the minister handed her her new ID.

"I feel very, very glad because it's a big thing. I can't even talk, I am so very glad," said Skhikhi, who can now return to receiving her social grant.

Skhikhi, a one-time domestic worker who has worked all over the country, applied for a new ID after her first one was damaged in rain.

Later, Dlamini Zuma stopped at Boniwe Nyobole's house a few kilometres away and popped next door to Nyobole's Baptist Pentecostal Church.

Nyobole's ID had recently gone missing. Without an ID, she can't access her pension payments. But the minister's surprise visit came just a month after she applied for a new one.

This was a surprise for Nyobole because it beats even the government's own pledge of processing IDs within three months.

In the small church with its simple zinc roof, wood-panel walls and plastic chairs, the minister, the two ward councillors and Nyobole addressed community members, while singing songs and closing with a prayer.

"I feel great," said Nyobole, a retired housewife. "It's the first time to see this thing, that's our government (sic)," she said.

A new ID also means another Khayelitsha resident, Nombuyiselo Kraai, can apply for a passport and visit her daughter who lives overseas.

Kraai has never had a passport before and Home Affairs officials said to get one, she would first need to get a new ID, because the photograph in her current ID - which is some 20 years old - was that of a much younger Kraai.

Earlier in the day, Dlamini Zuma dealt with several residents' concerns around the new R140 application fee for the reissue of IDs.

South African citizens applying for an ID for the first time would, however, still be entitled to get one free of charge.

Before the gazetting of the new tariff in January, the fee for reissuing an ID was R20, but Dlamini Zuma explained that it had become necessary for the department to raise this to both cover the cost of printing IDs and to incentivise South Africans to take proper care of their IDs, lest they land up in the wrong hands.

In the past, too many residents have applied for new IDs when they misplace it, even when their original ID turns up a few days later.

This led Dlamini Zuma to last month point out in her Budget Vote speech, that this year, more than half of the over 1.3 million reissued IDs remained uncollected - leading to wasted resources, while increasing the possibility of duplicate IDs and identity theft.

Dlamini Zuma pointed out that in a survey conducted in Pretoria by her department, it was found that most people who had not collected their IDs had applied for new ones when they had merely misplaced them.

The minister is expected to officially open the Hartebeeskraal Thusong Centre in Atlantis, Western Cape, on Thursday, which will offer a wide range of services to all members of the community.

She will also hand over IDs and birth certificates to members of the community in Witsand and Atlantis, following which, she will interact with members of the Atlantis community.