A village without Omang

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A large number of young andold residents of Metlobo villagein the southern districtlive without national identity cards.Just about 75 kilometers fromKanye village, the small villagewith a population of over 1000, hasaround 142 people with ages rangingfrom 16 to 55 years who havenever acquired identity cards.Speaking in an interview withThe Gazette recently, the villagechief, Isaac Keipeile, lamented thatthe issue is caused by migration ofpeople who come to his village tolook for jobs in the farms.Some of the affected people, accordingto the chief, come to Metlobobefore they reach the requiredage to get Omang “and when theyreach the required age they do notgo back to their parents and or relativesto acquire the national identitycards.

 

They end up having relationshipswith the locals and never goback to their families even after losingtheir jobs,” Keipeile explained.The chief said that this is propagatedwhen residents withoutOmang cards bear children whothen face diffi culties in getting thesame because of their parents’ situation.“They seem to have taken theissue of identity cards very light,and I have recently realized that thelocals are now joining the trend. Butwe are always faced with diffi cultiesduring times of sicknesses anddeaths,” the chief noted with concern.The situation is a draw back in thedevelopment of the village as someof the residents who qualify to beunder the government programs likemonthly food rations and old agepension are unable to get benefi ts.The chief said his efforts to talkto the nearby civil and national registrationoffi ce to intervene did notbear fruits as he could not get a concreteresponse. According to him,this kind of situation could only beaddressed if government can changethe law.

 

“People should be requiredto have identity cards for them todo any type of work, be it domesticwork or any other job. Some peoplejust get lazy because they have toldthemselves that they will only dojobs which don’t require them toproduce identity cards,” he said.The Assistant Manager, Communicationsat the Ministry of Labourand Home Affairs, OsesenaqaLekgoko, told The Gazette that herdepartment was not aware of thesituation in Metlobo. “I do not understandwhy they would not haveidentity cards when they are justnear a big village of Kanye.

 

Wenormally experience such along theborder areas,” she said.Asked whether the said peoplewould be charged to get their documentsin light of the fact that manyare destitute and cannot afford thefees, she said they make an assessmentto determine whether theycan be charged or get their chargeswaived.She noted that they have an ongoingtwo-year old program for remotearea dwellers, vulnerable groupsand orphans. They identify them,and subsequently go and settle therefor some time to register them. “Wetrace their history through dikgosi,and make them take an oath andregister them because there is anarrangement that their charges arewaived.”According to Lekgoko, they conductregistration campaigns in remoteareas where there is no infrastructurelike roads. “Other regionaloffi cers make arrangements withdikgosi and make operations in suchvillages to register people.”