Big rush for ID cards expected

2014-05-06 00:00

LONG queues are expected outside Department of Home Affairs offices today after people who wanted to collect their identity documents were turned away yesterday.

A system problem at the office led to scores of disgruntled people — many eager to vote in tomorrow’s elections — being told they could not be helped.

By late yesterday the system error had been sorted out, said Home Affairs district manager for operations in eThekwini and Ugu district, Tersia Hanekom.

“We had a bit of trouble since Saturday but that has been sorted by our IT guys. They are monitoring the system … unfortunately the system does not allow us to post or send cards in any way as the system requires a fingerprint of the recipient,” she said.

Pinetown resident Colleen Honey doubts that she will be able to vote after she was told the system was down yesterday morning.

Honey (69) said she applied for her new smartcard ID four weeks ago.

“It’s been four weeks since I started going to the office for my card. I would go there at least once a week and I’d be told the system was down. When I phone the office the phone rings with no one answering. If they can at least answer their phone I would be able to stay at home and not bother to waste time and energy going there,” said Honey.

She said yesterday she was at the office at 7 am only to be told the system was down yet again.

“No official came to explain what’s going on,” she said, adding they were later told by a security guard that their cards were not available and he was not sure when the system would be back up.

“I asked for a temporary ID, but was told since the system was down no documents could be processed. I can’t believe that a day before the polls I can’t get an identification document,” she said.

Another resident, Anthon Campbell, was one of the scores who packed the offices since yesterday morning to collect their cards.

“No explanation was given as to when the system will be back. I doubt that everyone will get their cards before the voting day,” said Campbell.

Steveigh Roberts echoed similar sentiments. “I tried three times to get my card but with no luck. The system is down. I’ve since got married and this card carries my new surname,” she said.

Democratic Alliance MP Manny de Freitas said this was happening not only in Pinetown, but throughout the country.

“I have been receiving phone calls since last week with people raising concern about the delays in issuing out of the cards. There had been delays before but this is unacceptable, because this is a critical period for people to have their ID cards,” said De Freitas.

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