28 January 2011
The Department of Home Affairs is pulling out all the stops to ensure that as many South Africans as possible have their identity documents in time for voter registration weekend, taking place on 5 and 6 February, ahead of the upcoming local government elections.
From extended working hours to mobile offices, the department’s director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, said plans were in place to make certain that those who applied for IDs received them on time.
Home Affairs offices countrywide will open from 8am to 5pm during those days set aside for voter registration. Officials are also expected to work extended hours on the day before the voter registration weekend.
Assisting flood victims
Apleni said mobile offices would be deployed in areas where the department did not have an office close to registration stations. Officials at these mobile offices hand over IDs, collect and process first and re-issue applications, as well as deal with other inquiries.
“We will also be visiting flood-ravaged areas to assist those who may have lost their enabling documents, including IDs,” Apleni said in Pretoria this week.
While the department was doing its bit to ensure that South Africans had all they required to cast their votes, citizens were also expected to play a role.
Unclaimed ID worry
Apleni said the department was particularly worried about the thousands of unclaimed IDs at its offices.
“Of serious concern to the department … is that our offices across the country have at this stage a total of 767 889 unclaimed IDs. Unless these IDs are claimed, owners will not be able to exercise their democratic right to vote.”
He appealed to those who had received an SMS informing them their IDs were available to make every effort to collect them from their nearest Home Affairs office.
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) deputy chief executive Mosotho Moepya said the IEC was grateful and satisfied with the steps taken by the department to assist voters.