Home Affairs suspends certain services

The DHA has suspended the application for smart IDs, with the exception of matriculants applying for IDs.
A long queue outside the Department of Home Affairs in Port Shepstone on Monday this week. Most in the queue were there to register deaths.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has announced the suspension of several services rendered under level 3 lockdown as the number of death certificates being issued by the department has been on the increase.
To remedy the situation, Home Affairs offices have extended operating hours.
“We will be extending operating hours to 7pm to accommodate those needing to register deaths and births. This will be available from now until February 15,” said Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
The minister said since December the department has been issuing a high number of death certificates.
The figures, he cautioned, are set to spiral further by the end of January. He compared the deaths recorded in December 2020 saying that in December 2018, a total of 36 826 deaths were registered and this rose to 38 620 in December of 2019 before figures skyrocketed to 55 676 in December 2020.
“But on January 4 and 5 – just the first working days of this year – Home Affairs had already registered 10 582 deaths. If this trend continues, there’s going to be a greater demand and it will get worse,” he said.
Confronted by the grim reality, the Department has decided to temporarily suspend certain activities and services.
“This is very unfortunate but we are forced by circumstances. We were guided by statistics. Of all the people who visit [our] offices, 29 percent are people collecting smart IDs, 16 percent are applying afresh for smart IDs, 11 percent come to be issued birth, marriage and death certificates while 10 percent come to apply for temporary IDs,” he said.
The DHA has suspended the application for smart IDs, with the exception of matriculants applying for IDs.
Applications for passports (except for those permitted to travel by the Disaster Management Act regulations), marriage registration and solemnisation of marriages are also suspended as is the collection of IDs.
“I know this will be difficult but please bear with us as we save lives. Please don’t come to collect IDs unless you’re specifically invited to do so via SMS. We’ve decided to change the modality in which we operate, we are proposing that all births and deaths be registered at health facilities at which they took place,” he said
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