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Can you get a new South African passport right now?

15 January 2021 12:22 PM
Tags:
Department of Home Affairs
passports
Covid-19 restrictions

W Cape Home Affairs' Sam Plaatjies says no, but the department has the discretion to renew passports on a case-by-case basis.

Lockdown and the increase in covid infections are taking their toll on the services that the Home Affairs Department can offer the public.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi made the announcement earlier this week about these limits but Sam Plaatjies of Western Cape Home Affairs speaks to Refilwe Moloto to clarify their limited services and what the public can expect.

Plaatjies explains that under the extended level 3 lockdown regulations, the Home Affairs office hours have been extended until 7pm.

So we are open from 8 in the morning until 7 in the evening which makes it very flexible for people to decide when to come into the office.

Sam Plaatjies, District Coordinator - Western Cape Home Affairs Dept

From this coming Monday, staff capacity in the offices will be reduced to 50%, he notes.

This is very important because staff will interchange every other week to mitigate the risk of one staff member contracting the virus and spreading it to others.

Sam Plaatjies, District Coordinator - Western Cape Home Affairs Dept

The following services will be rendered until 15 February:

  • Birth and death registrations
  • Reissuing of birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Late registrations of births
  • Passport applications for cross-border essential services
  • Temporary identity certificates
  • First ID smart card applications for learners
  • Collection of ID documents including smart cards and green barcoded ID book

All other services will be suspended until 15 February 2021.

What does this mean for those needing passports to travel for family emergencies?

The essential part of the passport is transporting cargo and medical equipment across the border. But also in the case of a medical emergency where somebody has to travel across the border that will be allowed.

Sam Plaatjies, District Coordinator - Western Cape Home Affairs Dept

Home Affairs states that there is a discretion that can be applied by Office Managers on a case to case basis.

There was a concern among marriage offices whether they will still be able to conduct marriages. Now the answer to this is a definitive yes...it will just not be able to be captured on the national population register until we open from the lockdown.

Sam Plaatjies, District Coordinator - Western Cape Home Affairs Dept

He says the extended office hours are also to allow death certificates to be issued given the number of Covid-19 deaths.

RELATED: We have ample capacity for registration of deaths, says WC Home Affairs manager

We will not have any bottlenecks in the issuing of death certificates.

Sam Plaatjies, District Coordinator - Western Cape Home Affairs Dept

Permits for foreign nationals has been suspended.

Leniency has been provided until 30 March sp people will not have to fear being chucked out of the country because their permits have expired during this time frame.

Sam Plaatjies, District Coordinator - Western Cape Home Affairs Dept

Listen to the interview below:




15 January 2021 12:22 PM
Tags:
Department of Home Affairs
passports
Covid-19 restrictions

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