Challenges of accessing identification and travel documents are negatively affecting the livelihoods of some Limpopo residents. Some matriculants in the province are unable to get admission into tertiary institutions and employment opportunities as they don’t have IDs. An alleged hijacking of a courier truck enroute to some Home Affairs offices in December last year, has also exacerbated issues for some residents.

Twenty-one-year-old Tiyiselani Baloyi had pinned her last hopes out of poverty on studying and becoming an educator. The mother of one has however been unable to secure admission at an institution of higher learning as she does not have an identity document. This despite attempts over the years to apply for a late registration of birth.

“I had to stay at home the whole year of 2021 and by 2022. I decided to go back to school just to improve my marks. And I did that. But unfortunately, still now I don’t have an ID and it’s affecting me badly because my aim is to have a better future where I can study for teaching at the university of Venda so that we can break the chain of poverty at my family but it seems like home affairs is not helping me,” says Baloyi.

Several kilometres away at Nkuri village, 21 year-old Nhlautelo Chavalala also looks at his matric certificate as it gathers dust since he attained it three years ago. Chavalala’s birth certificate reflects him as a female. Attempts over the years to have this rectified also proved futile.

“My gender was opposed by the Department of Home Affairs from when I was young so we tried to apply to rectify my gender but it seems like we are not winning up to date. I’m still dealing with the issue but there’s no success, I was wishing to study forward because I want to be a teacher. So, I can’t study forward, I can’t apply for jobs and years are passing by. I’m left behind time is going and I am growing,” says Chavalala.

The 31-year old Eamon Shongwe’s source of income is on the line. The trans-border truck driver has not been able to work since the start of the year. He was informed that his passport is part of loot that was taken when a courier truck was allegedly hijacked in December.

Shongwe says the home affairs authorities advanced the alleged hi-jacking as the reason for not receiving his passport. The father of three and sole bread-winner for his family says attempts to have officials re-issue him a new passport have borne no fruit.

“They told me that the courier that was supposed to bring the documents here was hijacked so all the documents were lost and then I tried to reapply for the passport but still I couldn’t get any help, always when I check here it’s like they failed to re-apply the passport for me and right now it’s affecting my employment, I’m unable to work because of the passport,” says Shongwe.

The Department of Home Affairs has promised a speedy resolution to these challenges.

“The urgency of this matter requires us to say at least by Friday, everything will be resolved, with the passport it should be quickly because the record is already in the system but I can assure we are on course to make sure it is resolved, we are doing our ultimate best to make sure that by the time of the closing of the university registration these kids are able to register,’ says Thifhelimbilu Matshaya, Home Affairs regional manager.

It remains to be seen if the two matriculants’ documentation will indeed be available in time for them to enrol to further their studies this academic year.

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