‘Dead’ Pretoria woman ‘alive’ again after Home Affairs bungle, but husband still a ‘widower’

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“I’m alive… again!”

This was Renthia van Rensburg’s response after a nearly two-year battle to be declared “alive” after Home Affairs had her on record as being dead.

For the 49-year old from Onderstepoort near Pretoria, the nightmare began in December 2017 when she discovered that she was somehow declared dead on the Home Affairs database.

News24 reported on her plight in April.

She discovered that she was literally persona non grata when her bank account and pension payments were suddenly frozen.

This was after she resigned as a teacher to take up the full-time responsibility of looking after her disabled son.

The bank at the time told her the account had been frozen because Home Affairs informed them that she had been declared dead.

READ: Alive and kicking, even though Home Affairs declared her dead

“For two years it was a forward and backward battle between myself and Home Affairs in an effort for them to rectify my life status. This was however without any success,” she told News24 on Monday.

Only after intervention by News24, did the department admit that she was indeed wrongfully declared dead on its computer system.

On Friday, she received the good news that she was now “alive” again. She received a letter and temporary ID document confirming her status.

This, however, did not make life easier for her husband.

“My husband of many years, his identification on their computer systems now indicates that he is still a widower!”

With her brand-new ID in hand she tried to open a bank account, but only one bank was willing to assist her with opening an account.

“And of course, my other frustration was that I could not vote last week. But, I’m alive!”

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