People Without Identity Documents At Aroab

23 Dec 2013 11:10am
By: Paulus Shiku
AROAB, 23 DEC (NAMPA) – There are four people – an elderly couple and two females - who say they moved from South Africa and settled at Aroab village in the //Karas Region more than 23 years ago, but they still do not have Namibian Identity Documents (IDs).
Aroab is situated on a gravel road, 172 kilometres east of Keetmanshoop in the //Karas Region; the village is about 35 kilometres from Namibia’s southern border with South Africa, at the Rietfontein/Klein Menasse border post.
The four Aroab residents said they came to Namibia around 1989 with work permits and have since settled at Aroab and have never gone back to South Africa again.
Speaking to Nampa on Monday, the four people said they all currently do not have any type of national citizenship documents, not from South Africa or Namibia.
The group includes Simon Dreyer, 72, his wife Sina Dreyer, 72, her niece Johanna Rooi, 41, and another unidentified female.
Rooi said she has not applied for Namibian citizenship because she is scared that she would get arrested if she were to travel to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration office at Keetmanshoop.
She said it was recently announced over the radio that people without national identity documents must approach the regional constituency office for arrangements and assistance.
“I responded to that announcement. But when I got to that office, there was no one to help me with my problem. I feel so sad that after all the years that I’ve stayed in Namibia, I still don’t have an ID. I do not travel anywhere apart from the nearby villages and farms because I’m scared to be arrested,” she said.
Rooi is married to a Namibian man and they have four children together. All their children have Namibian birth certificates.
Asked whether she would be willing to vote for the first time in Presidential and National Assembly elections next year, she smiled and said: “That has been my dream all along. I have been willing to cast my vote and I still am. If I had an ID I could register to vote, but now it is impossible.”
Her aunt, Sina said she is also grounded or condemned to live only in the area around Aroab village, as she fears arrest if she ever dared go to big towns like Keetmanshoop or Windhoek.
“We, my husband and I, do not get a monthly social grant as pensioners, and we are not registered to vote because we do not have the identity documents for Namibia,” Sina said.
She applied for Namibian citizenship at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration office in Keetmanshoop in April 2012, but is still waiting for her card to come.
“We have no hope anymore. For years we have been struggling to get documents, we went to Keetmanshoop several times but I am still waiting up to today,” the elderly lady said.
She added that although her husband also wishes to obtain national documents, he did not apply for citizenship because he is always busy with work on the farms.
As bleak as their situation may look, they may perhaps take heart in the fact that another lady who also came from the Northern Cape many years ago, did indeed manage to apply and receive her Namibian citizenship.
Trudy Abrahams, 81, said: “I applied and received my Namibian identity card. It is now with my niece at the other house.”
According to information in the Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency office at Aroab, there were about 200 people without identity documents in Aroab in 2012.
This number mostly included farm workers and those close to the Namibia/South Africa border.
This year, 172 identity documents were brought to the constituency office, currently only 73 Ids are left waiting for their owners to come and collect them.
The good news for those who do not have citizenship is that the mobile registration team from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration will visit Aroab from 24 to 25 February 2014.
They will be at the constituency office, giving application forms to people to apply for IDs.
The national registration of voters will be conducted from 15 January to 02 March 2014.