Home Affairs listed woman as dead

A local woman is living her “worst nightmare” after discovering that Home Affairs has listed her as dead.

Smangele Mohale (35), from France, found out that she was listed as a dead person at Home Affairs when she tried applying for child support grant at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in September last year.

“At Sassa they told me that their system showed that I died in 2012. They had suspicions that I had stolen someone’s ID but when I reassured them that I knew nothing about this they advised me to go to Home Affairs,” she said.

Mohale said she had to pay R75 at the local Home Affairs office to get her Notice of Death documents. The documents, seen by The Witness, indicate that Mohale died in New Hanover on July 5, 2012. There is information of a man, who posed as Mohale’s cousin, who took out the death certificate in her name, including his fingerprints. The documents also include a certificate by the attending medical practitioner and particulars of the funeral undertaker who handled her burial.

“I don’t even know the person who took out the death certificate in my name. I suspect they had taken out a life cover claim in my name and cashed it out in 2012,” she said.

The mother of two boys, aged one and 13 years old, said she was told at Home Affairs that she needed to come back with an affidavit and a case number before they could investigate the matter.

She has since had problems with getting a case opened at Loop Street and New Hanover police stations.

“I went to New Hanover police station but they said I must go to my local police station. At Loop Street they told me to go back to New Hanover as that was where I supposedly died so they should investigate the matter. The police also said they were not sure what case to open.”

Mohale said she plans to go back to New Hanover when she has enough taxi fare but doubts they’ll be able to help her.

“I feel like I’m living my worst nightmare. I can’t do anything because this death thing follows me everywhere. I can’t get a job, I can’t go back to school and I can’t even get child support grant for my baby. I have nothing and sometimes struggle to feed my baby, it’s really hard. At the moment I am dependent on hand-outs from my neighbours,” she said.

Home Affairs KZN provincial manager Cyril Mncwabe said once Mohale has obtained a fraud case number and an affidavit from the police, Home Affairs will start their own internal investigation on the matter.

“If the investigations clear her she can be restored and carry on with her life.”

Mncwabe said there have been similar cases where people have had their identities stolen or were reported dead to make life insurance claims but said they were not that common.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said he would follow up the matter and would be in touch with Mohale to ensure that she was assisted. He also urged whoever felt that they were not being assisted properly at any police station to report the matter to the station commander.