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Home Affairs Offers Additional Services Under Alert Level 2

August 31, 2020

Department of Home Affairs

From the beginning of the lockdown on 26 March 2020 until Wednesday, 26 August 2020, immigration officials assisted 839 004 people to cross South Africa’s borders under the permissible conditions.

The home affairs minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced this during a media briefing on additional services offered by the home affairs department under Alert Level 2 of the lockdown.

The minister added that most of the people were foreign nationals returning to their countries and South Africans returning home to South Africa.

Emergency medical evacuations were also assisted.

Amended Directions on additional services were published in Government Gazette 43650 in terms of Disaster Management Act Regulations.

Additional services to be rendered by the department during Alert Level 2 include applications for first issue of Identity Card or Green Bar-coded Identity Document; applications for Identity Cards or Green Bar-coded Identity Documents by persons with Temporary Identity Certificates that have expired; applications for amendments of personal particulars; applications for rectification of personal particulars and Back Office records retrieval services.

The amended Directions also stipulate that all Temporary Identity Certificates issued during the national state of disaster that have not yet expired on the date of commencement of the amended Directions, are extended up to 31 October 2020.

Since the beginning of the lockdown until 21 August 2020, the home affairs department assisted more than 1.6 million people with crucial enabling documents.

The following services were provided:

• 181 492 re-issue of replacement birth certificates;
• 198 846 death registrations;
• 347 787 Temporary ID Certificates;
• 366 988 birth registrations;
• 318 812 IDs and
• 195 474 passports, mostly for people involved in essential services.

The minister confirmed that the eHomeAffairs portal remains deactivated as new applications are still not accepted in the current level of the lockdown.

The refugee reception offices and borders throughout the county also remain closed.

VFS offices are open only by appointment for collection of outcomes on applications which were made before the lockdown.

The minister also indicated that the department, in partnership with the banks which participate in the online system for smart ID card and passport applications, has opened for collections for clients who had applied for these documents before the lockdown.

This service will only be provided on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the banks’ operating hours.

“People who had applied for these documents before 26 March 2020, which is the lockdown’s starting date, may collect their smart ID cards and/or passports from their selected bank branches.”

Meanwhile, parliament has called for comment on the Draft Electoral Laws Amendment Bill.

The private member’s bill, drawn up by Mosiuoa Lekota, a Congress of the People member of parliament, aims to amend relevant electoral legislation in order to make provision for independent candidates to stand for public office in provincial and national elections, without requiring such candidate to be a member of a particular political party.

According to the explanatory summary published in Gazette 43660, the draft bill will also “provide for a legislative mechanism to allow independent candidates to stand for election and allowing elections to happen in constituencies that align with districts using the “open list” proportional representation, which will best serve the interests of every South African and most particularly those who have remained marginalised, neglected and increasingly alienated from the politics of the day”.

The notice points out that the current electoral system of proportional representation results in voters being estranged “because a direct relationship with a member of Parliament is absent and a lack of accountability of members of the relevant legislatures to its voters prevails much to their chagrin. The increasing and continuing alienation of voters from the political system is detrimental to democracy and the well-being of society at large”.

Lekota plans to table the draft bill in parliament during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Comment on the proposed content of the draft bill is invited until 30 September 2020.