Home Affairs – How not to get an ID-book (14 years later)

I have been a permanent resident since 1998 and ever since I received my permanent resident certificate, I have tried to get my first ID-book. It took me a lot of patience to ignore the stuff-up from Home Affairs Randburg with my occupation:

With Home Affairs everyone seems to require a lot of patience. I am not surprised to read stories of people holding staff at gun-point just to get their identity document. The other day I read of a case where someone’s documents (including ID and passport) got stolen, and the poor fellow had to wait for 7 months to get ID and passport back. During that time he was not able to pick up his new credit-cards (you need ID) or renew his drivers license.

My story is similar. The previous 10 applications all disappeared into thin air (or more realistically: I helped 10 illegal immigrants to get a valid ID) and I was overwhelmed when I applied for the 10th time on 24th December last year and received a reference number via SMS. Surely having a reference number will ensure that I will know the progress of my application every step of the way — NOT!

It took Home Affairs Randburg until 23rd January (1 month) to forward my application to Pretoria. The reference number seems to be worth jack, since their online system always reports “System is unavailable”. Phoning home-affairs is equally fruitless – two weeks ago an official could not stop laughing while she was telling me that it will take at least one year to get my ID-book (after which she put the phone down and any subsequent calls the phone remained unanswered).

Home Affairs – you suck!With the amount of tax I am paying the government every year (and in turn I am paying government officials salaries) I would expect at least some basic rights and services. Due to not having an ID book I

  • am not able to finance a car, because banks classify me as a non-resident and flight risk
  • was supposed to convert my international drivers-license within a year. For this I need an ID-book and can not do it without it. I am now not able to convert my license anymore (due to the 1-year restriction) and to get a RSA-license I have do redo a learners/K53 (and everyone knows how much hassle it is to book an appointment with eNatis/Traffic department
  • struggle with any financial institution. Even financing a house with sufficient funds seems to be risky for banks – I might just decide to leave the country and take the house with.

Update 2: I did phone Randburg Home Affairs on Friday. The phone rang for 15 minutes without anyone answering. Eventually I got cellphone numbers of supervisors there. The first official’s voice-mail was full (no surprise) the 2nd official answered and apologized that he can not help, because he is on “a workshop” (must be a nice workshop – loud music booming in the background, women laughing). Oh well – at least my tax-money gives Home Affairs enough budget to socialize.

Update 3 (09/2010): Applied for the 11th time – things are looking good;
Update 4 (10/2010): My application can not be found – WTF?
Update 5 (11/2010): Yeah – I managed to get my ID book – 11 attempts and 14 years later.