The Department of Home Affairs is going all out ahead of this weekend’s voter registration for the local government elections, extending business hours to accommodate those applying for or collecting identity documents.
Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni said the department’s offices countrywide would be open from 08:00 to 17:00 on March 5 and 6.
Officials are also expected to work extended hours on the day before the start of the voter registration weekend.
“Officials at all our offices nationwide will be on hand to collect and process first applications and applications for the re-issue of IDs, as well as temporary identity certificates, which will be accepted by the Independent Electoral Commission by those wanting to register to vote,” said Apleni.
The department’s 117 mobile offices will also be on hand to ensure that those who do not live close to Home Affairs offices receive help.
Apleni urged those who had applied for IDs but had not yet collected them to do so as soon as possible. There were 500 000 unclaimed IDs at Home Affairs offices.
More than 25 000 South Africans collected their IDs during the first voter registration weekend in February.
Having an ID not only ensured that those who were registered on the voters’ roll would be able to cast their vote, but was also a passport to a better life and provided the opportunity to access government services, said Apleni.
He called on the youth of South Africa to apply for IDs as soon as they turned 16, and urged them to take advantage of the opportunities government offered, which could be accessed by using an ID.