Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele has called on people who have applied for ID documents to collect these at home affairs offices around the country in time for the voter registration weekend, of 26 and 27 January.
This will be the final voter registration weekend before the 2019 general elections, which will take place in May.
With an influx of new applications for IDs during the department's extended office hours in January, thousands of uncollected ID books are gathering dust at home affairs offices around the country. The largest number of uncollected IDs is in Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
As of the beginning of this year, there were 297 000 uncollected IDs at home affairs offices, Cwele said on Sunday.
The department extended the working hours of some of its offices from January 2 - 11 to compensate for typically higher volumes of people using its services during that period. Many people used the opportunity to apply for ID documents and to collect theirs, Cwele said.
Over that period, 116 404 people visited the department, he said. Most of these were in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, where most people applied for smart ID cards and passports, and to collect those already applied for. Over that period, there were over 82 000 applications and over 29 000 collections. For IDs alone, there were 51 811 applications and 23 453 collections, Cwele said.