The Department of Home Affairs appears to be continuing to illegally hamper efforts by transgender people to change their gender in their IDs.

On Monday, SAPA reported that a trans woman had to obtain a court order against home affairs in order to have her gender officially changed in her identity document.

Jacqui Louw (41) from Cape Town, who has undergone gender reassignment surgery, has been waiting for almost two years for the department to process her application with no success.

She claims that the confusion resulting from the incorrect gender information in her ID has led to her losing her job and being unable to apply for a passport to travel.

The inaction of the department is despite a 2003 amendment to the law which saw South Africa become one of the first countries to allow people to legally change their gender identity without having to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

“It is about high time that the Department of Home Affairs start answering to their lack of service delivery towards transgender people,” Liesl Theron, Executive Director of trans rights group Gender DynamiX, told Mambaonline.

“Over the years Gender DynamiX realised that each time when we pressurised the department with the media or the threat of litigation it would then process the ‘involved’ applicants documents.”

In November 2011, the department met with Gender DynamiX and committed itself to resolving the backlog of cases within six months, a promise which it appears to not have kept.

Theron revealed that the organisation had in the meeting with home affairs also committed to not go to the media with outstanding cases during the six month period.

“The six months expired on 30 April and Gender DynamiX is now ready for the next step,” a frustrated Theron said.

“We will continue to monitor the progress of people who have alerted us of their applications. We are also committed to continue with whichever legal and other steps need to be taken in order to ensure transgender people are guaranteed equal citizenship in South Africa,” she added.

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