Hope after cloned ID

Almost there. Howick woman Thabisile Khumalo is a step closer to getting her life back after her identity was stolen in 2009 by a Johannesburg woman who racked up thousands of rands of debt in her name.

In January The Witness reported that Khumalo (33) had discovered that someone was using her identity number when she went to apply for a new identity document (ID), as the one she had was old and the black and white picture was no longer clear.

Read: No help for victim of identity theft

on Tuesday Khumalo (33) anxiously waited for hours at the Pietermaritzburg Home Affairs offices but she was in good spirits the whole time. She was hoping to get a new ID after she got a phone call from Home Affairs saying that her application had been approved.

When her turn came, the Home Affairs official handed her a letter from the department’s head office in Pretoria, saying that she had been allocated a new ID number following the outcome of the investigation.

The department has now blocked her old identity number so that it cannot be used for identification purposes anymore.

Khumalo was emotional after reading the letter. She beamed as she looked at it several times as if to confirm that it was real. “I’d given up on trying to get a new ID because one of the Home Affairs officials from this very office [Pietermaritzburg] told me that I couldn’t change an ID like it’s a SIM card. He basically told me that there was nothing they could do about my case,” she said, recalling the incident from 2010.

The mother-of-two said she would finally get some peace from constant harassment by debt collectors as the identity thief has used her ID number to get credit from numerous clothing shops, as well as loans from African Bank and Capitec.

“I’m a qualified security guard but I can’t get a job because that woman [the identity thief] had me blacklisted.

“I also wanted to further my studies so that I can become a teacher but no university would accept me because my ID was still being disputed,” said Khumalo.

To exacerbate her plight, Khumalo could not collect the child support grant for her children. She said she was embarrassed that at her age she was still financially dependent of her 61-year-old father, Bhekekhaya Khumalo.

“Today is one of the best days of my life because now I will be able to get a job and support my children like any parent should,” she said.

Khumalo is hoping to get her new ID in a few weeks and one of her priorities is to apply for a licence with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority so that she can start looking for jobs as a security guard while she tries to further her studies.

“This letter has got me excited about life again. I have something to look forward to like a normal person.

“It might have taken years to get here but I thank God for everyone that made it possible,” she said.