By Marshallino Beukes
The Ministry of Home Affairs at Swakopmund on Tuesday brought tears to the eyes of a father trying to get hold of a Full Birth Certificate for his 13-year-old son.
The Patriot ran into Mr. Apools Venter (57) close to the Ministry’s Office and after overhearing him complaining about the poor service he just experienced, decided to investigate the matter. Upon our enquiry, Venter noted that he came all the way from Henties Bay to Swakopmund which is 77 kilometres away to obtain his son’s birth certificate, but all was in vain.
According to him, he visited the ministry last week Thursday (5th September 2019) and an application form was provided, which he was requested to complete and return on Monday.
Upon arrival on Monday, he was however informed that the person who is responsible to sign the document was not available and that he should come back the next day (Tuesday).
The same scenario repeated itself, with Venter being told that the responsible official is still not available.
“The Clerk started to question me on my whereabouts the past years, as I only now came to apply for my son’s Birth Certificate. To tell you the truth, I was in jail, but is that any of her concern? They’ve treated me in a very rude manner and I am very disappointed in our civil servants,” he remarked.
According to him, his wife did try to apply for their son’s Birth Certificate while he was in prison but was informed by Home Affairs officials at Swakopmund that the child’s father’s ID was also needed and that the father should also be present.
He provided the paper with his original full Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate as well as proof from the Swakopmund State Hospital that his son was born there. All this, he said, was what they required of him to bring along after his first visit.
The taxis from Henties Bay to Swakopmund charge N$140.00 to and fro, which the unemployed father reveals had to fork out more than N$400.00 already for his three visits to the Ministry.
He fumed that “maybe I should offer them a bribe, so that they can do their job properly!“
Almost at a whisper, he noted that his son is a talented football player and the Full Birth Certificate is vital for him to participate in an ongoing school soccer tournament hosted nationally.
“The teachers at his school and even people from Windhoek are urging me to do all I can, in order for my son not to be left behind. They say he has a bright future as a soccer player ahead of him and they all want to see him reach top honors. Now, due to the reluctancy (sic) and incapability of GRN Officials to do their jobs they are paid for, my son’s future is in jeopardy,” Venter noted close to tears. “All I want is to get a Full Birth Certificate for my boy and not let him down.”
Another issue Venter brought to this publication’s attention is the fact that he has been struggling to obtain his own ID.
As per Venter, he only had the old South African ID, and while in jail (2012) he applied for a Namibian ID.
“They took my pics, fingerprints and everything, but until today I am waiting.”
He presented his Full Birth Certificate, Voter’s Card and proof of application for his ID to this publication. According to him Home Affairs Officials told him that he has to go to Windhoek and pay a fee of N$1200.00 in order for his ID to be provided to him under his father’s surname, Venter.
“What in the world is that? My parents were married, my Birth Certificate states I am Venter, even on my voter’s card I’m Venter, so why should I pay money and go to Windhoek?” he fumed.
“Why should a person born in Namibia struggle to obtain an ID, while people from other countries get it just like that?” he further asked. When approaching the Home Affairs office for comment, The Patriot was told, “the Chief is on leave and there is no Acting Supervisor. There is no one you can talk to”.