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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Citizens urged to collect IDs as Home Affairs extends operating hours for December

The extension - effective from Monday - will see offices open at 8am and close at 5.30pm.


The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that operating times at front offices and ports of entry have been extended in order to ease congestion this December.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi approved the temporary extension on Monday.

Hours extended

The extension – effective from Monday – will see offices open at 8am and close at 5.30pm.

These operating hours, however, exclude weekends, public holidays, 17 December 2021 and 24 December 2021, as offices will be closed on these days.

“[This will help] to deal with the high demand for services at Home Affairs offices. Everybody who arrives before 5.30pm should be served and not turned away,” the department said in a statement.

The department will offer all Home Affairs services during the extension period.

Operating hours at some of the busiest ports of entry have also been extended, which will allow some of them to operate for 24 hours.

The department explained that the extension was to enable the continuous processing of truck drivers, while other travellers will be processed during the hours that fall outside the curfew.

ALSO READ: Motsoaledi approves resumption of ID and passport applications

Curfew under adjusted level 1 lockdown in South Africa starts at midnight and ends at 4am.

“Our offices and ports of entry usually receive high numbers of people during the festive season, partly because that is when most people have time to look for services or to travel.

“The temporary extension is therefore aimed at giving people more time to come to our offices or be processed through our borders in a safe manner, taking into account that Covid-19 is still with us,” Motsoaledi said.

The Oshoek border with Eswatini will operate all day from the 20 to 24 December and the Lebombo border with Mozambique from 13 December 2021 to 9 January next year.

The Beitbridge and Maseru borders are already operating for 24 hours, the department further said.

People who applied for their IDs more than two weeks ago have been urged to collect their documents at the offices where they made their applications.

Booking system

Home Affairs is planning to roll out a new appointment booking system next year and this is aimed at tackling long queues and corruption.

During a virtual meeting two weeks ago, Home Affairs director-general Tommy Makhode told Parliament’s portfolio committee on Home Affairs that the system had been finalised and would be used in selected offices.

“We hope to pilot [the booking system] in five offices from the 3rd of December to the 31st of March [2022]. These [offices] are mainly located in Gauteng,” he said.

READ MORE: Here’s what your ID number means and why Home Affairs wants to change it

The system will allow citizens to use their ID number to book a slot, preventing illegal activities in the process.

It will also use a mobile app that will allow people to schedule appointments.

Users are also expected to fill out a declaration regarding their health and Covid-19 status for health and safety regulations.

The new system will complement the existing eHomeAffairs online portal, which was introduced in 2016.

Read more on these topics

beitbridge Dr Aaron Motsoaledi Home Affairs