Rumours about green ID books refuted

2018-01-17 06:01
Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni. Photo:JACOLINE PRINSLOO

Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni. Photo:JACOLINE PRINSLOO

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RUMOURS that the green barcoded ID book will be discontinued have surfaced again, prompting the Department of Home Affairs to refute the claims once more.

During their first briefing of 2018 on January 10, Home Affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni expressed his concern over the continuous claims that the lifespan of the green ID book would be terminated on March 31 this year and the effect it has had on South Africans.

In a state of panic, a large number of people have swarmed to Home Affairs offices to apply for smart ID cards.

The false claims first started circulating late last year and are making the rounds yet again on social media.

“At the time, we had responded swiftly to say such reports are false and do not come from us. We are again confronted with the same incorrect reports from the beginning of January, circulating largely on social media,” Apleni said.

“We, therefore, call upon members of the public to ignore these mischievous messages. Responding with panic affects our systems negatively, thus, making it very difficult for us to deliver services as expected: professionally and in the most humane of ways.”

According to Apleni, their offices refuse to turn anyone away and are, therefore, left battling with long queues and frustrated people.

“This is a situation to which we do not want to subject citizens and officials. It is in our interest that citizens should apply for and receive their secured smart ID cards; it is in their interest and in that of the country. But this has to be done systematically.”

When the department rolled out the smart ID cards in 2013, their data showed that 38 million people were in possession of the green barcoded ID books and they then set out a strategy for a smooth roll-out.

“We knew that one workstation can handle 28 card applications per day. It takes 17 minutes on average to finalise capturing an application. We were, therefore, able to estimate how many cards we could produce at a given time with the number of automated offices we had that were equipped with live capture. As a result, when we started, we had invited first-time applicants and senior citizens to be the first to apply for smart ID cards, free of charge,” Apleni explained.

Over time, with more offices and automated systems, and reinforced by 14 bank branches on eHomeAffairs, they extended the coverage to other areas.

“Of our 411 offices, 184 are currently equipped with live capture, which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports,” he said.

“Discussions with participating banks are continuing to increase capacity through additional bank branches.

“Participating banks are Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank.”

The department has encouraged those with access to the internet to apply for their smart ID cards and passports online, using the eHomeAffairs portal at

“We really cannot afford disruptions arising from false messages on termination dates. We are working on getting our systems fully automated and are also developing a mobile solution to support the roll-out of smart ID cards.

“Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to reach the seven million milestone on smart cards issued. While we have 38 million people to cover, it should be clear these messages making the rounds, that March 2018 is the cut-off date, are devoid of truth and should, therefore, be ignored.”

Beware of scams

In addition to addressing the claims about the termination of the green barcoded ID book, Apleni also took the opportunity during the briefing to warn residents to be vigilant about scams.

“We have noticed a spike in the number of incidents in which people use fake accounts to steal money from others. We urge people to be vigilant; they should not allow themselves to be conned, whether for tenders, IDs or other documents.”

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