Publication: Noseweek Issued: Date: 2003-11-01 Reporter:

Mistaken Identity?



Noseweek, Letters

Date November 2003, Issue 51

Web Link


In September we reported on Miss Yvonne Zuma, the smart young lady who by some miracle managed to acquire two "legitimate" - but differently numbered - identity cards from the Department of Home Affairs.

Her original ID number is 6703021071082.

Her new ID number is 6603021095083. When we first reported this discovery in September (nose49) her "old" ID number instantly brought up computer records of bad debts and bounced cheques with the country's major credit control agencies. The new one, most conveniently for a cash-strapped Miss Zuma, did not. (We speak in the past tense - credit control agencies apparently read noseweek to keep themselves up to date on such matters.)

Yvonne Zuma was known to many of her friends and creditors as a daughter of Deputy President Jacob Zuma. That's how she on occasion described herself. We so described her in our report in nose49.

Ms Zuma's current employer, the SABC, also believed her to be the deputy-president's daughter. The SABC's official spokesman, Paul Setsetse, told noseweek : "She is the deputy president's daughter. She is a contract worker at the SABC doing project management under the direct supervision of the head of corporate communications and marketing, Tango Lamani." (She had previously herself described her job at the SABC as "government liason".)

But, it seems we, the SABC and all those kind people who gave her credit because of her reputed social status were grievously misled. The deputy president's official spokesperson, Lakela Kaunda has let it be known that Yvonne is not related to him "in any way".

We apologise for our (unintended) role in perpetrating the myth. (Lord knows, Mr Zuma has enough problems without having Yvonne add to them!)

We confronted Ms Zuma with the deputy president's denial and once again asked her : are you Jacob Zuma's daughter? Her latest answer : "Not exactly".

Well how not exactly?

"My father is Jacob Zuma's younger brother," she says. Which still does not tally the deputy president's statement. She would not disclose her father's name as she said this information was "private".

Home Affairs can't vouch for her lineage (it's confidential) but they describe Ms Zuma as a resident of Port Elizabeth who applied successfully to change her date of birth from 1967 to 1966, after showing "irrefutable proof of the correct date of birth".

They could not, however, find out what sort of evidence she submitted of her rightful birth because they are switching to an electronic document managing system and there is just too much work, and too many files being scanned by officials, to be able to give us information any time soon.

"I know that a lot of people are under the impression that when you change your date of birth or any other particular (and, in the process, get a new ID number), your debt records are automatically expunged," the department's spokesperson, Apollo Gopolang, told noseweek. "But that's not the case."

Well, no, they're not expunged - they just remain linked to the old identity number on credit control computer systems and will not be linked to the new ID number - unless someone tips the agencies off.

Anyway, says Mr Gopolang, "Home Affairs have no reason to doubt Ms Zuma's bona fides."

The reissue of an ID document costs R12 and the prescribed fee to amend your date of birth is R45. In the last financial year the department changed the dates of birth of 28,726 people.

With acknowledgement to Noseweek.