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18 July 2011 at 10:19 - Posted by Anonymous

Life on hold for man who ‘doesn’t exist’


Willem Clarke's fingerprints and ID number now belong to a Mr Moeketsi, who looks in his 60s.

When Willem Clarke was hijacked over a year ago, he knew his bakkie had been stolen, but he never imagined that his identity would also be taken from him.

Clarke was reversing out of his Alberton driveway in April last year when two men approached him with a gun. His bakkie was taken, his cellphone, wallet and identity document.

Through Tracker, his car was recovered and he bought a new phone. But when Clarke tried to get a new ID, his fingerprints and ID number kept on showing him to be a black man with a name similar to a Mr Moeketsi.

Clarke went to the Home Affairs Department in Vereeniging to try to get a temporary ID in order to get a new driving licence. But at the counter, when his fingerprints were put through the computer system, he was told he could not get a temporary ID. No other information was given.

“I went back a few weeks later to try again. I did my fingerprints and this time they showed me on the computer screen the picture of a black man who looked to be in his 60s, called Mr Moeketsi or something similar. He had my ID number and my fingerprints matched to him,” Clarke said, who is in his 30s.

He was given a tracking number and told the problem would go to the duplication office at the Home Affairs head office in Pretoria.

“Every three weeks I call them, and they can never tell me anything,” said Clarke. “It has been more than a year and I don’t know what else to do.”

Clarke is in a fix. His birth certificate – which would normally help resolve a situation like this – bears his original birthname, but he was adopted.

He said someone at Home Affairs told him he needs to bring a letter from his primary school and from his childhood pastor to prove that he exists. When he took the letters back to Home Affairs, he was told he could not be helped as he had been given the wrong information.

He was also told by officials that the only way to solve his problem, is if he asks the Minister of Home Affairs to help him.

All he has left is a black-and-white photocopy of his original ID, which has been signed by a commissioner of oaths. Until he gets his identity back, he cannot carry on with his life.

Clarke said that without his ID, he can’t replace his driving licence. He has been stopped by metro police and told to take the copy of his ID and get an affidavit from them in order to get a new licence. Without a driving licence, he could lose his job as a technician.

“But when I went, they said they couldn’t give me an affidavit without my green ID book,” Clarke said, adding that he wants to sell his house, but cannot do so either without his ID.

“Anyone can commit fraud with my identity,” he said. “I don’t know what else to do. I don’t exist anymore.”

Department of Home Affairs spokeswoman Manusha Pillai said the matter was being investigated. - The Star

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