Murder in public places
a True fairy tale by Manana Molefe
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Once upon a time, not so lang ago, there was a man. Paki was his name. He thought he was alive. One day, Paki went to the local office of the department of home corruptions. Blinded by their promises in of exelent service the public, he applied for a pasport. The lady at the counter punched in his dompas number. She looked up with awe. She said "But sir, we cannot help you, because you refrained from supplying us with your death certificate. That day Paki realized that someone stole his identity, and left him as dead on the records. With a ghostly walk, he went to the door that had the sign EXIT. Passing through the door, his head went right through the threshold without any pain. Then he realized, he wasn't walking anymore...

That was the begining of his ghostly existance. Soon his bank accounts was closed. Banks work with rands, not ghost-pulas. He tried to renew his professional registration. The autorities just said: One of our membership requirements is that the member must be alive. Ons day Paki went to the post office to collect a parcel. The counter clerk called security and told them that this man is trying to steal a parcel with a stolen dompas. So it happended that his driver licence had to be renewed. Opposed to the guys at home corruptions, the traffic autority had some logic thinking staff. They gave Paki one look, decided that he is alive and gave him his licence without any problem. a Few weeks later someone blessed Paki with a cash cheque to support him in the work he was doing. The bank official asked his dompas. Then she screemed blue murder, because someone is trying to steal money with a fake dompas.

So it went on. Year after year. In this time, Paki tried to solve the problem by making contact with the section of the department of home corruptions that worked with this things. He spoke a few times to Thandiwe. She promised that the problem will be solved. In every call she said that they are having a meeting the next day and that Paki don't have to worry. Later on, when he phoned, he also talked to Nonyameko. Then, in the background of the office, he heard Thandiwe's voice telling her colleagus very snotty that it is that crazy man phoning again. Quite nice customer service? Paki offerder to come and visit them to sort it out right on the spot, but their excuse was that head office is not a public building and that customers cannot be seen. When they didn't had any other exuses anymore, Thandiwe told Paki that the director, Uuka, didn't had time to tend to trival problems. He told them to drop any further correspondence with Paki.

About four years later, Gogo Nobanzi came into the picture. She was a friend of Paki who realy cared about him and his problem. She had a relative, Dumisani, who worked at the office of the big chief of home corruption. He started investigating. In the meanwile, the chairman of the human rights presure group of a political movement, also heard about Paki's problem. They started presuring the dept of home corruptions from the political side.

At the end of year five, one evening just after six, Dumisani phoned Paki and told him that he is alive. That was the begining of the solution. Thandiwe and Nonyameko still tried to sabotage Paki. They saw to it that, with the issue of his correct dompas, the name was reflected wrong on the document. Then Dumisani presured them again. Paki paid again for a new dompas, with a promise that it would be right now. When the dompas arrived, it was wrong again. Dumisani used his authority and visited the officers concerned personaly. Paki never heard what he told them. Dumisani also said that he had to act drastic. About two weeks later Dumisani phoned Paki again. He told him that everything was solved and that he just had to go to the local office to get the right dompas. Dumisani also arranged the admin manager of that branch, Letsego, to escourt Paki through every step and to check every detail of the process. Dikeledi worked together with him. She took control of the communication side of the case. After the visit, Letsego offered Paki coffee and asked Paki to wait a in the consulting room. Minutes late he arrived with a perfect temporary dompas. About three weeks later Paki got a note that the permanent dompas is ready. He went to the office. Letsego met him there, took him directly to the right counter, and took the honour of presenting him personaly with the correct and living dompas. That was six years and two months after Paki's death.

Dumisani continued to investigate. Later it showed that Thandiwe's reason to call Paki crazy, was to protect herself. Paki's identity was one she sold under the table. And that was the reason she tried to convince her colleagues not to help Paki. It also showed that the director, Uuka, also had a share in the profit of selling identities to imigrants. Thandiwe was demoted two ratings down. Uuka was sent on early pension.

Two moral issues derive from this story:

In six years Paki lost a lot materialy. But the officials didn't care. He had to live to get tenders, to be able to use bank facilities, to be able to use his professional registations. There was a lot of other things that was also denied to him. All that things, added together, made that his life quality dropped. He had to stay in old pump rooms on farms, in a caravan. He also had a few temporary places to stay. But the moment the landlord realized that his dompas didn't work, they chased him.

The other moral issue is a bitter one. As you saw in this story, those who caused the problems, were from his own tribe. People that spoke the same home-language as Paki. Those from who he was supposed to get the most help. Those who helped him, on the other side, was not his own tribe, not even sharing his home language. But they went the extra seven miles to help him to escape from trouble his own tribe caused him.
Soekterme:
departement van binnelandse blabse, departement van binnelandse sake, department of home affairs, korrupsie, corruption. identiteit, identity, identiteitsbedrog, identity fraud, bedrog, fraud, omkoop, bribe, omkopery, bribary, amptenare, officials, dalena dreyer, koeks broodryk, wim de jonge, spookstorie, dood, dead, ghost, ghosts, kitty struwig, eddie stafford
Gerrie Prinsloo, a worker at the court in Pretoria, is also part of this whole plot. In 2001 he handled some of Paki's documents and thereafter some of the problems already started.