Transcript copy: Interaction with media by Minister Dlamini Zuma following visit to Umzimkhulu
29 Aug 2009
Question Minister, you have been complaining about Ubuntu since you assumed your portfolio. Now we have suicide.
Answer Yes, indeed I have been complaining and we are trying to put measures into place in the department which has in a way been a difficult department for a long time. It has never had a culture of service. It has never had a proper culture of Ubuntu. The majority of people in those offices think they rule the world because they know that all the documents that people need are critical to their lives. If you do not have an identity document (ID), you do not have a life. In itself, this gives us an impression and a good idea that we should be sensitive and keen to not cause people any additional frustration. For some reason, it seems to be a reverse. People think this is power that they can demand from the public whatever they need. If people do not give the bribes, they do not receive the service.
Question Minister, can you please share with us the story of this boy?
Answer I got a call last night and was very distressed. From what I understand this youngster was born in 1987 and does not seem to have parents but has been trying to get an ID. As you know, if you do not have an ID or a birth certificate you have to apply for late registration and get people who will act as informants that they know you. Whatever they said, they were eventually called to an interview.
In this interview, the interviewee was not happy with the responses and said this young man was lying and tore up the papers and threw them at them. He said they were not even South Africans and referred to them in a derogatory manner as one would when referring to foreigners. They were basically chased away and this young man was condemned to not having a life.
What is worse is that he was looking forward to starting a new job, on the condition he presented an ID when he started work. If he did not have an ID the job would be given to someone else. When it became clear he was not going to get an ID and were not going to be acknowledged as a South African, he decided to end his life.
Obviously, for a person in the portfolio in which I am, this is very difficult. So, we hope it will not happen again and we can map a way forward in our relations with the communities during this workshop.
Question Minister, what is going to happen now?
Answer: We are going to find the person who acted in this way. I don't have tolerance for people like that. We know it happened in the Pinetown office so we are going to follow it up. The Director-General of Home Affairs is already there with the family.
As soon as we get the actual person who did it, we will be dealing with it. But that is not enough; we have to get rid of this culture. I think people should treat other people as they would like to be treated. Don't do something you would not like being done to yourself, your mother, your sister or your grandmother. Just do what you expect if you were the client or the customer.
This is the only thing I can say. It is also just ubuntu. But I think this illustrates the purpose of the workshop we are having today. This workshop of all the stakeholders we work with at Home Affairs, youth, women, traditional leaders, religious leaders, local government counsellors, mayors, the independent electoral commission (IEC), it is important because the procedures at Department of Home Affairs do not sometimes take into account the objective conditions on the ground that confront people and we need to get to the people as we have done today and work with them so that the processes we implement speak to the reality that our people are living with everyday.
If we do not do this, even if we do change procedures, we may do so in a way that still creates problems because some of what the people deal with in communities are not what we envisage as we devise and implement procedures. For instance, as you have heard, some women may come from the cities with young children, maybe they are ill and pass away – the children are not registered, the grandparents do not know who the father is, and it becomes an endless problem to just secure a birth certificate for those children.
So, it is important to realise that just because both parents may not be there, the children are important, they are human beings, how can they access their rights are there mechanisms in communities that can assist us at DHA to verify that this is a South African child.
It requires a birth certificate although there are no parents, this child needs an ID. This workshop should assist in getting this wisdom from the communities to devise rules and procedures that will serve the people on the ground.
Cell: 082 990 4853
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
29 August 2009
Source: Department of Home Affairs (http://www.home-affairs.gov.za)
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
29 Aug 2009
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