WOMAN TOLD: YOU'RE TOO UGLY FOR AN ID

The Witness, 25 April 2008

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A 68-year-old woman has been told that she canít get an ID because she is too ugly to be a South African citizen. Clara Sibuyi from Bodlambongolo in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, has struggled for 10 years to get an ID book and has been forced to beg for hand-outs because she canít receive her pension grant without one. "I have tried everything I can in my power, but now it seems the ugliness has beaten me," said Sibuyi. She says she has spent 10 years going back and forth to the Home Affairs Department, trying to convince them she is South African. "I have lost hope and just wish God would take me because my life is hard. I donít have money to travel to offices anymore. I am stuck," said Sibuyi. She says the last time she went to Home Affairsí Thulamahashe offices on March 3, an official told her that she is too ugly to be a South African citizen. Her surname was misspelt on the copy of the departmentís acknowledgement of receipt. They wrote a Mozambican surname, Xiburi, instead of Sibuyi. "I was told that I look ugly, like a Maputo woman, and thatís the reason my ID cannot be issued," says Sibuyi. The Home Affairs manager for the Ehlanzeni region, Joana Molekwa, invited Sibuyi to her office in order to help her.