Home Affairs says that a local man’s South African citizenship is in dispute, despite him being in possession of a green ID book and having been born in the country.
Edward Thusi’s identity document has been blocked and Home Affairs has directed him to do a DNA test to verify that he is his South African father’s true son.
Thusi was born on the Hilton College Farm in 1960. His mother was a Lesotho national, but his father was South African, and he told The Witness that as far as he knows, he is also a South African citizen.
His parents have died.
Thusi said he had been using his green barcoded ID since it was issued in 1986, until he was told in 2011 that it had been blocked. He said he made the startling discovery when he went to the Pietermaritzburg Home Affairs branch to renew his passport.
An official at the branch told him he would have to re-apply for his identity document and produce documents proving that he was indeed South African. While he submitted all the required documents including his mother’s identity document and death certificate — and affidavits — these did not suffice.
After being sent from pillar to post, in 2016 Thusi said he hired an attorney to help him to resolve the issue and unblock his ID but to date, that has not happened.
In March, he said he was called to the branch to have his fingerprints taken to cross-check against the prints in the documents he had submitted. He said he had gone as far as getting affidavits from principals and teachers at his former schools in Cedara to prove that he was South African but those too did not suffice.
Pietermaritzburg Home Affairs manager Xolani Maphumulo said: “Citizenship is only automatic from the mother’s side, so the only way the man could have obtained South African citizenship was through naturalisation.
“If he indeed obtained it through naturalisation he needs to produce his letter of naturalisation to us and he needs to do a DNA test with a relative from his father’s side to prove that he is truly his son.”
He added that it was a difficult thing to issue an identity document where grounds for citizenship are not established, whether in terms of birth, descent or naturalisation.
“Children born of immigrants follow their parents’ status. It makes it more difficult because his parents were not married, therefore, he follows his mother’s status. You do not get citizenship by virtue of being born in South Africa, he must go through the application process,” added Maphumulo.
Maphumulo said Thusi’s existing ID had possibly been granted through misrepresentation. Thusi said he could not afford to pay for a DNA test as he was unemployed.
He said it costs about R1 500.