Push to allow online ID and passport applications as Home Affairs suspends services

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The opposition Democratic Alliance has called on Home Secretary Aaron Motsoaledi to open online applications for ID cards and passports with immediate effect.

This follows news that his department has temporarily suspended some essential services, including applications for smart identity (ID) documents, passports, marriage registration and solemnization of marriages.

Opening up online services will ensure that services are not completely disrupted and will also prevent the Department of the Interior (DHA) from having an influx of requests when these services are reopened for frontline processing, said the AD.

“While we recognize that preventive measures must be put in place to protect citizens and DHA staff from contracting Covid-19, and that Home Affairs officials are currently bowing under pressure due to the high number of certificates death he had to deliver – we strongly believe that the suspension of critical home affairs services at this time will leave many South Africans in limbo,” he said.

The DA further warned that the decision to suspend certain services would lead to unintended consequences.

“Especially for those who need to apply for social benefits who will not be able to do so without a valid ID, in addition, people will not be able to access money from their Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and many financial institutions do not help those without valid ID to open an account or take out loans.

He added that the suspension of critical home affairs services will lead to a huge backlog from which the ministry will struggle to recover, particularly in light of its “well-known” inability to deliver services at optimum levels even when its offices are fully open.

Services impacted

Due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 infections and a number of home affairs staff being affected, branches across the country are suspending some services until further notice.

Suspended services include:

  • Smart ID apps and collections. Only matrix learners will be able to request smart credentials under the current lockdown level;
  • Applications for passports, except for persons belonging to the categories authorized to travel in the amended regulations of the Disaster Management Act;
  • Matrimonial services and solemnization and registration of marriages;
  • Issuance of birth certificates. Births should be registered in the health facilities where they take place.

“We are aware that it will be difficult for people. Please wait with us. We are trying to save lives while providing empowering documents,” Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

For all other services, the Interior offices will remain open between 08:00 and 15:30.


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