Stay calm: Your green bar-coded ID is not expiring

Your green bar-coded ID book will not expire in March this year.

False reports of this being the case first surfaced towards the end of last year.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni said these reports masquerade as a notice from the Department of Home Affairs and claim that March 31 is the termination date for using the old green-barcoded ID books.

This drove citizens in great numbers to Home Affairs offices to apply for Smart ID cards.

“We call upon members of the public to ignore these messages. Responding with panic affects our systems negatively, thus making it very difficult for us to deliver services as expected,” Apleni said.

Offices in KwaZulu-Natal 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. This is a situation to which we do not want to subject citizens and officials.

“When we rolled out the Smart ID cards in July 2013, our data showed that 38 million people were in possession of green bar-coded ID books. We had then set out a strategy for a smooth roll-out.”

One workstation can handle 28 card applications a day. It takes 17 minutes on average to finalise the capturing of an application. On average, an office with three computers is expected to take in 84 applications a day.

Of the 411 offices, 184 are currently with live capture, which can process applications for smart ID cards and passports; 227 offices are still to be modernised.

Discussions with participating banks are continuing to increase capacity through additional bank branches. Participating banks are Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard.

Those with access to the internet are encouraged to apply for their Smart ID cards and passports online. However, they can only finalise their applications in 14 banks of which 13 are in Gauteng and one in Cape Town as pilot sites.

Part of the challenge Home Affairs face is that they are running two systems, namely:

• A manual system – for births, marriages and deaths registrations, and

• An automated system – for Smart ID cards and passports.

“We really cannot afford disruptions arising from false messages on termination dates,” Apleni said.

“Between 2013 and 2017, we were able to reach the seven million milestone on smart cards issued. With the 38 million people we have to cover, it should be clear these messages making the rounds, about March 2018, are devoid of truth and should be ignored.”

Kempton Express

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