South Africa: Home Affairs Issues 13 Million Smart ID Cards

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza says ever since the department started digitizing the identity applications process, some 13 million smart ID cards have been issued.

Nzuza on Wednesday briefed media ahead of the department's budget vote speech in Cape Town.

"Since we started digitizing our applications process, we have issued over 13 million smart ID cars and we continue setting tight deadlines to deliver on this critical task of replacing the old, insecure, green bar-coded ID books. We urge our citizens who have applied for smart IDs to come and collect them," he said.

Nzuza was outlining the progress made in digitizing services at the department in a bid to improve service delivery.

He said the improvements in the turnaround times of issuing smart ID cards and modernised passports was due to the rolling out of the live capture system.

This, Nzuza said, means that the department now issues a smart ID card within a week and a passport in 13 working days.

"This is an improvement compared with the previous waiting period of six months for an ID and four months for a passport. However, we acknowledge that there are serious blockages in terms of service quality at offices, as evidenced in our interactions with citizens while visiting various front offices since we assumed office," he said.

Nzuza said, meanwhile, that one of several Ministerial priorities is to intensify the fight on long queues and reduce long waiting periods at front offices.

"[During the budget vote] we shall deal in detail with our priorities in the areas of identity (civics), immigration and asylum management."

The department will use the budget vote to acknowledge the work that is being done to clean the national population register. Nzuza said this will be done by strengthening the early birth registration programme and fighting fraudulent marriages.

New white paper to transform SA's migration policy

Nzuza said, meanwhile, that that the department will use the budget vote speech to reflect on the transformation of SA's migration policy.

"A new white paper in this regard is in place. We are working on new legislation."

The department continues to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to develop an implementation plan to assist in reducing the backlog on asylum applications and appeals.

The department will also deal with the thorny issue of illegal migration.

"In this regard, work is being done to ensure people are documented. In this regard, work is being done to ensure people are documented, and their stay is regularised effectively to ascertain all people in the country are and feel safe.

"Last year, our 731 inspectorate officials undertook 24 266 deportations. They completed 2 880 undesirable appeals within 28 days and conducted 221 inspections at business and hospitality industries where it was suspected undocumented nationals were employed," Nzuza said.

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