ID books expiration date is ‘false news’

2018-01-25 06:00

SCORES of South Africans have been racing to Department of Home Affairs (DHA) offices after hearing that green bar -coded identity books will soon expire.

Information on social media says all citizens need to apply for Smart cards.

According to a statement released by DHA recently the information is false.

In a statement DHA said the reports, which first appeared at the end of 2017, masquerade as a notice from the Department of Home Affairs that claim March 31 is the termination date for using the old green bar-coded ID books are false.

DHA said the news had an effect of driving citizens in large numbers to Home Affairs offices to apply for smart ID cards in panic.

“At the time we responded swiftly and said such reports are false, and do not come from us. We are again confronted with the same incorrect reports, from the beginning of January 2018, circulating largely on social media,” said DHA spokesperson Mava Scott.

“We therefore call upon the public to ignore these mischievous messages.”

He said the rush affects DHA’s systems making it difficult for them to deliver services effectively.

“Our offices in the KZN can barely cope with the numbers.”

Scott said the offices cannot, and will not, turn people away, therefore they have to battle with long queues.

“It is in our interest that citizens apply for and receive their secure smart ID cards. It is in their interest and that of the country. It has to be done systematically,” he said.

Since the roll-out of Smart ID cards, 38 million citizens still have green bar-coded ID books.

The department has since set out a strategy for a smooth roll-out.

“Of our 411 offices, 184 are currently with live capture, which can process applications for Smart ID cards and passports, and 227 offices are still to be modernised. We intend to continue rolling out additional Smart ID card offices in order to cover the majority of our population in all provinces.

“Discussions with participating banks continue and through additional bank branches. Participating banks are Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank.

“We encourage those with access to the internet to apply for their Smart ID cards and passports online. The portal is accessible on DHA website www.

“Citizens can only finalise their applications in 14 banks of which 13 are in Gauteng and only one in Cape Town as pilot sites.”

“Online applications on eHomeAffairs have no queues. DHA offices do not use a booking or appointment system for reasons of access for all people. Our service delivery model is on ‘a first come first serve’ basis. We rely on historical facts to project the number of people who can visit an office. We cannot afford disruptions arising from false messages about termination dates.”

He said DHA will communicate its programmes, processes and timelines.

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