drivers licenses

A South African ID book and drivers licence. Photo: Gallo images

Home Affairs: Woman shares horror story after being told she’s “dead”

If you thought your recent experience with Home Affairs was bad, try being this woman who was “declared dead” in 2012, despite being very much alive.

drivers licenses

A South African ID book and drivers licence. Photo: Gallo images

We’ve all had our dealings with Home Affairs. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it’s hell. We’ve also all heard a horror story of people finding out that they’re married or worse… dead.

Mbalenhle Precious Mpanza is one of those people dealing with the horrors of a Home Affairs system error. The 30-year old was told she was dead when she went to vote during the 2014 Elections.

She shared the horrors of her story with the Sunday Tribune this weekend, and it’s absolutely horrific.

Mpanza was told she could not vote because she’s dead. Despite, you know, standing there with her ID book in hand. She says she has spent the last four years going back and forth from one Home Affairs branch to another to try and get the issue resolved… but to no avail.

According to records, Mpanza “died of natural causes” in uMzimkhulu back in September 2012. She says she’s never even been to Mzimkhulu.

Detailing her horrors, she says she’s been promised on several occasions that the issue would be resolved, but that has not happened yet.

What’s worse, she relies on a social grant for both her and her daughter. That has not been paid since 2014 because she is considered to be “dead”.

She told the Sunday Tribune:

“Without a valid ID I cannot even look for work or study nursing to build a future for myself. I rely on my mother and younger sister for my daughter’s support. My life has stalled.”

The Department of Home Affairs did not respond to the Sunday Tribune by the time the paper went to print, but she is not the only person to suffer this frustration.

Do a quick Google search for “Home Affairs says I am dead” and you’ll find a number of such examples.

In 2016, the Daily Sun reported a case of Nolundi Bomela, who was also told she is dead by Home Affairs. Also in 2016, the Boksburg Advertiser reported that Deidré Warren discovered she was “dead” when she visited her bank. In 2014, Emmanuel Ntimane, had the same problem.

In 2009, Home Affairs launched a “dead or alive” service for South Africans to check whether they had been fraudulently declared dead on the population register.

Not much use if it’s still randomly happening, though, is it? That service has since been suspended.