Cape Town – Confusion over her birth date has left Nontizana September destitute with little hope of escaping her life of poverty and pain.
She lives in a dilapidated shack with no windows, a broken door and openings all around the frame of her tiny home.
According to September and her family, this was as a result of an error by the Department of Home Affairs when she first applied for an ID.
September’s memory is not as sharp as it may have been and she does not remember when she moved to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape, but she remembers having worked as a domestic worker for many years before things turned sour.
“I’ve been here for many years working and cleaning in people’s homes, most of my belongings and documentation was left back home and burnt in a fire which destroyed most of the house,” she said.
“I went to the Department of Home Affairs to apply for an ID but they gave me the wrong identity number and now I cannot apply for an old age grant. I use to get a TB grant many years ago, but that expired because I was cured. Now I have no source of income,” she said.
September’s younger sister, Monica, 63, confirmed that Nontizana was her older sister, but that she had no form of identification.
September’s only surviving son was arrested last Sunday for the alleged murder of his live-in girlfriend, Zoliswa Keke.
The couple lived close to September and Keke was her carer. “I don’t know what I am going to do now,” cried the elderly woman.
“She helped me with everything, food, cleaning of my house and even taking me to wherever I needed to be because I cannot walk,” shes aid.
Muneera Allie from the Human Settlements Department told Weekend Argus that September would have to “get assistance” from her local ward councillor.
According to local ward councillor, Thando Mpengesi, September’s case had been referred to the Khayelitsha Home Affairs Department.
“What was most striking for us was the fact that her temporary ID says she was born in 1972 while her son was born in 1973. Obviously something is amiss there,” said Mpengesi.
“We are now trying to gather enough information to prove that she was indeed born in 1952,” Mpengesi added.
September spends most of her days on her three-quarter bed with a blanket over her legs.
She depended on Keke to help her onto her wheelchair and push her around. “I had an operation on the one leg which is why I can’t walk, so I have to keep it warm,”she said.
“I lost my four children. Zola Bangisa is my second-born, he was born in 1973 and he is the one who lived with Keke, and the one closest to me. My sister also lives around but works really odd hours. I see her every now and then,” said the teary grandmother.
September said she would love to go back to the Eastern Cape where her deceased husband’s family lives.
“I still have a house there, but with no form of income, I would only serve to be a burden to those who are there. I don’t know what I am going to do now that Keke is gone because she was my hope and helper,” she said.
Home Affairs provincial manager Yusuf Simons told Weekend Argus it would take six months to get her identity number rectified.
“It is a long process we would have to conduct interviews with her and her family, she would have to undergo an age estimation test from a health facility to have a date of birth determined. All of this information will be sent to our head office in Pretoria and the process could take up to six months before it is proved that she was indeed born in 1952,” he said.
“The department will contact the person and deal with the matter.”