It is almost a year now since Ranko Selato (78) of Morwa Village in the Kgatleng District has been waiting for the government to issue him with the O Mang, the national identity card.
Since his arrival home, Selato, who is now blind, has been battling to acquire the national identity card without success.
The nightmare started after Selato returned from South Africa, having been reunited with his family through a popular South African Television program known as “Khumbilekhaya”.
He had been gone for 60 years and his family is accusing the government of failing to issue Selato with a national identity card.
“It has not been an easy road since the old man arrived home from South Africa and he has not settled as yet,” said Nteseng Selato, the family spokesperson.
He explained that after his arrival sometime last year around June, they filled out all the necessary official documents that were requested of him to get his ID.
She said they thought that it would not take them such a long time to process his documents but they do not know what to do now as they have tendered everything needed by the officials.
“Recently, he was denied receipt of shirts that had been donated by the president just because he does not have the O Mang,” said a teary-eyed Nteseng.
She indicated that visiting a hospital is a nightmare as they are required to produce ID and sometimes they don’t get any help because of the O Mang.
She wondered how long he should suffer.
“It is a sad situation and we need a messiah who can intervene,” she pleaded.
On his part, Selato said: “I am now blind and old but I just want to be issued with an ID so that I can be able to get my benefits like any other Motswana.”
He added: The O Mang will also assist me to access free assistance when visiting hospitals without being asked so many questions. The absence of the O Mang requires that I pay. The O Mang would make things easier for me.”
Several people have tried to assist Selato.
“I have done my part as the headman by filling in all the necessary information that was needed from my office,” Morwa Village head, Eric Nitshole, said. “The shocking thing is that even up to today, the old man has not been assisted in any way to acquire his ID.”
He urged the responsible department to speed up things and assist Selato so that he can also get any assistance that a Motswana enjoys.
Boyce Tladi, the area councilor also shared the same sentiments with the village headman.
“It should not take too long for him to be assisted because he is a pure Motswana by virtue of birth,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director of National Registration, Neo Lapeng, told the Sunday Standard that: “Though I am not aware of the case and haven’t seen the records, normally, it is important to verify the nationality of the person first.”
She said she would not want to be dragged into the matter before she reads the file of the said person.
She said it takes about ten days in urban areas to be issued with a card while in rural areas it can take almost two weeks, at most.