6 November 2007
South African passports issued to citizens who apply after mid-November 2007 will bear the country’s new coat of arms, a symbol already recognisable on official documents and on its currency.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Department of Home Affairs said that the change in the coat of arms was in line with the South Africa’s new corporate identity, which seeks to instil a greater sense of pride and dignity in citizens.
Addressing Parliament in Cape Town last week, Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said the department would receive a new passport printing press during June 2008, with the first batch of passports bearing the new coat of arms to be issued to citizens who applied after mid-November 2007.
During the transition from the old to new coat of arms, the home affairs department will still be issuing temporary passport applicants with passports bearing the old coat of arms, to use up existing stock.
“However, all passport holders in possession of passports bearing the old coat of arms need not panic, as these passports will remain valid until their expiry date,” department spokesperson Mantshele Tau said.
According to the home affairs department, the change is just one of many steps being take as part of a strategy to overhaul the department and improve efficiency.
Speaking at his 100 days in office report in September 2007, Msimang told media to allow him 12 months to turn the department, which has been plagued by inefficient service, fraud and corruption, into a “modern, efficient, cost-effective service organisation responsive to the needs of South African citizens, residents and visitors to our country.”