“I am hugely encouraged by this interaction”


Gail Maytham from Louis Trichardt, writes:

Given Mukwevho contacted me shortly after I wrote a letter to the Zoutpansberger in response to an article he wrote about SA citizens born outside of South Africa being denied ID smart cards. He then published an article about my situation in the 21 November 2019 issue of the Zoutpansberger. It apparently also appeared in the Mirror newspaper.

On 26 November, Makgale Levy Hiine, the regional manager of the Office of the Public Protector in Musina, wrote to Given, asking for my contact details as he had read the Mirror article and wanted to help me.

Given sent me the contact details and I wrote directly to Makgale. He responded promptly with a very detailed explanation of how he was empowered to take action when there were complaints laid against Government Departments.

To summarise the long email and our subsequent phone call, this is the nub of it:

* There are very few Home Affairs Offices in South Africa still able to issue replacement Green ID books. Musina is one of them. It is the one we will use.

* He contacted Mr F Makwarela of the Musina Home Affairs Department who assured him that he would help us apply for replacement Green ID books. Makgale even asked that I phone him once I had arranged a meeting with Mr Makwarela, so that he could be there to oversee the process.

* The issue (or non-issue in this case!) of Smart ID cards only being for SA citizens born in SA is a parliamentary matter and a bill needs to be changed. That requires a direct complaint to Parliament.

* Makgale provided me with the following contact details of people who can advise me whom to contact to start the appeal to parliament: The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Mr Eddie Mathonsi (Committee Secretary) at Tel 021 403 3826 and email emathonsi@parliament.gov.za; or the Acting Deputy Director General: Civic Services, Mr Thomas Sigama at email thomas.sigama@dha.gov.za.

I was extremely impressed with Makgale’s clear intent to carry out his responsibilities in Protecting the Public. I would encourage anyone in the same situation to write emails to the above people and get this issue out in the open and hopefully set in motion the parliamentary process to change the law.

It is so easy these days to be despairing and negative about things in South Africa – but I am hugely encouraged by this interaction!

I will give feedback on the process of applying for replacement Green ID Books. I think, however, we will go to Musina once the height of summer is over!

Thank you, Given Mukwevho, for being part of the story.