Some of the people living in South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province came for refuge, fleeing the civil war in Mozambique in the 1980s. Most of them have been naturalized as citizens and their children were born in Mpumalanga. But now they’re crying foul saying local authorities have blocked their identity documents.
They took their complaints to the Thulamahashe Home Affairs in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga on Tuesday morning.
It’s a generational crisis that stems from a displacement that took place three decades ago.
Goodman Mhlanga fled war in Mozambique even though he became a naturalized citizen in South Africa, his ID was suddenly blocked.
“In 2008 they blocked my ID and I couldn’t access my money at the bank. I am not alone there are about 1.8 million of us from Nkomazi, Giyane, and Bush.”
His story is not unique; Ben Mahungele was born in South Africa, but also with origins from Mozambique. The 31-year-old failed to finish matric and that’s because he has no ID.
Mahungele says, “The situation is very hard it’s costing me a lot of things, my mother is still suffering. I don’t know what to do to help her.”
They marched to Home Affairs as their children are also bearing the brunt.
Community leader John Mdluli says, “Children must get their rights of getting birth certificate because they’re suffering. Some of them are staying at home because they don’t have birth certificates. We have to show the government that our children are the future for tomorrow.”
Home Affairs has promised to help them individually but also warned there will be an intense verification process to solve their problems.
Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoba says, “We advise the group to come to our offices as individuals in that way we will be able to assist them. But they would have to prove they are indeed South Africans.”
However, the affected people will have to go through their lives undocumented.