Namibia: South West African ID Cards Still Valid

SOUTH West African identification documents have not been phased out and are still valid.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro recently announced that these documents remain legal until the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security phases them out.

In terms of the Electoral Act of 2014, an individual is entitled to be registered as a voter if he or she is a Namibian citizen, is above the age of 18 years, and is not mentally ill, Mujoro said.

He said the general registration of voters conducted between January and March 2014 took place under the Electoral Act of 1992, which also had a number of requirements in terms of what an individual should produce to register as a voter.

This meant would-be voters had to produce a new Namibian identity document, an old Namibian document (SWA ID), a valid ordinary Namibian passport a valid driving licence, a Namibian birth certificate or proof of Namibian citizenship with two registered deponents.

This comes after some residents raised concerns over acquiring Namibian citizenship documentation, despite being registered voters in the country.

Angolans who migrated to Namibia before independence and who are in possession of South West African ID cards are pleading for Namibian ID cards.

Fabian Guilherme (55), who came to Namibia in 1982, says he got married to a Namibian national in Namibia in 2012 and doesn't have access to a bank account since his South West African ID card is not accepted.

"Every time I go to Ondangwa and they send me back saying I am not qualified to get a Namibian ID card, my question is when are we going to be recognised and when will we qualify? I feel I deserve to be given Namibian citizenship because I have been here for long and am permanently employed and have a family here too," he says.

Nicolau Guilherme (55) says he also came to Namibia in 1982 and appeals to home affairs to grant him Namibian citizenship. He is a voter and has five children born in Namibia, he says.

"Why don't they send us back home during election time? I am asked to have three representatives, why can't they do that with giving us citizenship as well?" he says.

Florian Vashoka (83) does not receive a pension grants due to the fact that she has no ID card.

"I suffer a lot with my grandchildren and great grandchildren. My only granddaughter, who used to sustain me, died last December, and the remaining ones are unemployed and have their children to look after," she says.

Ministry spokesperson Sacky Khadhikwa says individuals who came to Namibia before and during 1977 qualify for citizenship.

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