“You can’t renew your car’s licence because you are deceased.”
This is the message a Stellenbosch businessman received when he recently tried to renew one of his cars’ licences.
Adriaan van Niekerk, former MP from the Northern Cape, now has to fill in a stack of forms, have fingerprints taken, make official statements and have letters proving that he’s alive – all to become officially alive once again.
Also, according to the eNaTIS (National Traffic Information System) database, he’s one of the approximately 70 000 other “living dead” South Africans.
“I realised I was dead in March or April. My sister was trying to have the licence of one of my cars renewed when she was told that I’m dead.
“Then I went there myself, but I was told that made no difference since the computer says the owner of that car is dead. They said I have to phone a number in Pretoria and hear what I have to do to become alive again.
“I told them it’s not my fault that I’m ‘dead’ and that they have to fix the mistake. Their answer was simply: ‘It’s not our mistake, it’s the system’s mistake.’
“I phoned the number and a Mr (Lehumo) Mathlala explained that I am one of about 70 000 similar cases.
I have to show them proof of my residential address, have my fingerprints taken and make statements as soon as possible (…) there are altogether about eight steps I have to take.
“After that it can take a further three months before I’m declared alive again,” said van Niekerk. Meanwhile, no-one may use the car since it is unlicensed.
“The funny thing is that the computer shows that I’m still very much alive as the owner of my other cars.”
Matlala said he and a team from the Special Investigations Unit (Cobras) are busy with an investigation into faulty information in the eNaTIS system.
[Theuns VD Westhuizen, Die Burger]