UPDATE: Green ID hoax adds 'panic and pressure' as 31m more smart card IDs still to be issued

2018-01-10 12:30 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni says he is “deeply concerned” about false reports that the green barcoded id is set to be terminated, causing a spike in applications and putting undue pressure on the DHA's already strained system.

Apleni was addressing media during a special briefing held in Pretoria to reiterate that the message is in fact false. 

The Green Barcoded ID cancellation hoax first appeared towards the end of 2017, masquerading as a notice from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), claiming that 31 March, 2018 is the termination date for using the old green-barcoded ID books.

The same false reports have been circulating in January 2018, and Apleni says as a result, droves of citizens are applying for smart ID cards in a panic.

“Ignore these mischievous messages,” says Apleni, who detailed that a strategic roll out for the barcoded ID would continue with citizens not needing to panic at all.

SEE: SA Green ID hoax: What you need to know about smart card ID applications 

Panic, extreme pressure

“Responding with panic affects our systems negatively, thus making it very difficult for us to deliver services as expected, professionally and in the most humane of ways,” says Apleni.

Apleni says the DHA offices in the KwaZulu-Natal Province have been hardest hit by the influx of applications, as it can “barely cope with the numbers”.  

“Our offices cannot, and will not turn people away, and therefore they have to battle with long queues, with people standing in the heat, fuming.”

Strategy for smooth roll-out continues

The smart ID cards rollout began in July 2013, with data showing 38 million people were in possession of the green-barcoded ID books.  Initially the department invited first time applicants and senior citizens to be the first to apply for smart ID cards, free of charge.

The facilitation of online applications and live-capturing systems enabled within in certain home affairs offices have improved capacity. But the current panic-stricken situation caused by the hoax is not ideal, says the DHA, with the department still encouraging people to apply, but to do so systematically.  

Modernisation roll-out continues

“Of our 411 offices, 184 are currently with live capture, which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports; 227 offices are still to be modernized. We intend to continue rolling out additional smart ID card offices in order to cover the majority of our population in all provinces,” says Apleni.

Participating banks are Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard.

“We are working on getting our systems fully automated, and are also developing a mobile solution to support the rollout of smart ID cards.”

Apleni confirmed that as of 2017, the DHA had processed and issued some 7m smart card IDs - this left an estimated balance of some 31m more to process,  based on its historical data.

“It should be clear these messages making the rounds, about March 2018, are devoid of truth, and should therefore be ignored.”

ALSO SEE: How to apply for your South African Passport  

How to apply for a Smart ID card 

The DHA appeals to South Africans to apply for Smart ID cards at any of its 184 offices across the country that are equipped with the Live Capture System.

SEE: Warning: Your passport 'expires' three months before it expires!

It has established a partnership with FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank and ABSA to create an online portal where clients can lodge their application without visiting a Home Affairs office. To apply, visit the Home Affairs website and click on the eHomeAffairs icon.

Smart ID cards are a way to help deal with long queues at Home Affairs offices, as customers now have the opportunity to submit an online application and enter their personal details digitally, before walking into a bank, post office or Home Affairs office to complete their applications.

SEE: New smart ID card pilot project could spell end to lengthy passport application process

How to apply for your South African Passport

There are different passports for different people and purposes. While you can apply for your passport at selected banks, one thing that remains the same is that you will have to go to your nearest Home Affairs Office to complete the procedure. Click here for the full details.

NB: Travelling abroad? Check out Traveller24's comprehensive visa section here for US, Schengen and UK visa application details and more.

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