Smart ID offices open

smartCard Smart ID offices openHome Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni has appealed to South Africans to be patient, and wait for the announcements and invitations before rushing out to apply for the new smart ID cards.

“People must know that this must be managed properly so that we don’t cause a stampede,” said Apleni, who was at the department’s branch in Barrack Street, Cape Town, to assist elderly people and MPs from the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on home affairs to get smart ID cards.

At the same time, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor handed over smart ID cards to a number of senior citizens at the Home Affairs office at Byron Place in Pretoria and at the Harrison Street office in Johannesburg.

This week the roll-out of the smart ID card will see Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, MPs, media editors as well as those from other sectors being invited to apply through the three offices in Gauteng and Western Cape. The minister will then make further announcements on when members of the public can apply.

Apleni said the process to move all 38m South Africans with green ID books to the new Smart ID card would probably take six or seven years.

Application by invitation

The department plans to use two methods to call members of the public to apply for the new IDs — by either inviting each applicant by name, using the details from the National Population Register, or by calling for applications by the month of each applicant’s date of birth.

“Those that lose their ID documents may first have to apply for an ordinary green ID book,” said Apleni.

“We really appeal to the public that they must be patient. Your current ID book is still valid - it has not been nullified and that can happen after we know that we have been able to cover each and every citizen of this country,” he said.

Once an applicant has been invited to apply for a Smart ID card the process starts with the payment of the R140 application fee (free for 16-year-olds), after which members of the public move to a ticketing kiosk where they are given a ticket specifying their place in the queue.

They can then be seated until a public address (PA) system calls their number and advises them where to go. The first step is to visit the photo booth and then go to the counters where the application process is concluded.

Smart ID cards are then couriered to applicants that live outside of Pretoria, where the cards are printed.

Apleni estimated it would take between seven and 14 working days for someone who applied in Cape Town to get their Smart ID card after applying for it. This would be reduced depending on the applicant’s proximity to Pretoria.

Apleni said next month the department aims to roll out further facilities at 26 home affairs offices to process Smart ID cards. Apleni estimated that the application process will take between 10 and 15 minutes once teething problems have been ironed out.

The department aims to use all its 403 offices to issue the new ID cards, but is considering using mobile trucks and by partnering with other stakeholders to obtain additional office space.

Apleni said the department aimed to process 100 000 Smart ID card by March next year.

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