Pubic Protector helps man get his life back

A 40-year-old Cape Town man, who “lost everything” as a result of an identity document (ID) misplaced allegedly by the Home Affairs office in Cape Town, is now ready to continue with his life after the Public Protector helped him get a new ID.

Dr Michael Grace, who is originally from Israel and has lived in South Africa for the past 12 years, said he was contacted by the Home Affairs office five years ago and informed that he shared an ID number with somebody else.

His ID and other documents with which he could identify himself were allegedly seized by officials at the department while they were trying to sort out his duplicate ID problem. According to Dr Grace, the officials subsequently lost the documents, marking the beginning of his troubles.

As a result, he said, he lost his businesses and a house in Cape Town as he could not prove who he was. In addition, banks wouldn’t grant him access to his accounts. Dr Grace added that he visited the Home Affairs office in Cape Town 60 times in a bid to get his ID without any success.

“I am very happy because now I exist after a full five years. I am in awe at the swift assistance I got from the Public Protector. I am now starting over and rebuilding my life,” he said just a week after getting his green, bar-coded ID.

Dr Grace’s dilemma came to the attention of the Public Protector three weeks ago when a Pretoria newspaper referred him to the institution after he went to the newspaper to complain about his troubles.

Having hitch-hiked his way from Cape Town, he arrived in Pretoria to make enquiries about his ID at the national Department of Home Affairs and when he could not find answers he turned to the newspaper, which referred him to the Public Protector.

Published Date: 
Monday, August 2, 2010