Calls for citizens to collect their smart ID cards

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has urged South Africans, who have not collected their green ID books and their smart ID cards, to do so to enable them to register to vote in the local government elections.

The Minister said this when he visited the Home Affairs Barrack Street office in Cape Town on Tuesday, to assess the volumes of uncollected identity documents at the office. He was accompanied by the Independent Electoral Commission chairperson, Glen Mashinini.

The visit took place ahead of the local government elections voter registration weekend, where South Africans can visit their nearest voting stations to register to vote or to verify they are registered to vote.

“We are undertaking a campaign this week to encourage South Africans to come collect their identity documents,” he said.

This comes after the Minister announced his decision to issue a directive to the Department of Home Affairs that no uncollected ID book will be destroyed until the elections have taken place.

The department’s policies give officials the authority to send ID books that have not been collected for six months to head office. After a further six months without being collected, the department can then destroy the documents.

The Minister said yesterday this policy, which is meant to ensure that uncollected ID documents do not land in the wrong hands, will not be enforced until the elections have taken place to give citizens a chance to collect their documents in order to vote.

Nationally, 263 000 smart ID cards and 68 000 green ID books remain uncollected. Approximately 6 000 have been sent to the department’s head office to be destroyed.

“Those ID books need to be collected in order for the people to register to vote as well as to participate in the elections.

“Because of the upcoming local government elections, we are encouraging South Africans to come forward and collect their books,” he said.

The Minister said the week has been dedicated to running a campaign to encourage people to register to vote, and that on Friday he will, along with Chairperson Mashinini, go to Tshwane and run the same campaign.

The campaign, the Minister said, is also targeted at encouraging young people between the ages of 18 and 19 years of age to register to vote.  

“We are doing all that we can to ensure that we prepare the country for election day and assist the IEC to increase the numbers of people who have registered to vote,” he said.

The Minister said currently, 25 million South Africans have registered to vote and that this was a good number for a young democracy.

He said over the voter registration weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, Home Affairs offices will be open between 8am and 5pm to coincide with the working hours of the voter registration voter stations.

The IEC Chairperson echoed the Minister’s call for all South Africans to register to vote.

“All the young people out there, please come out in your large numbers. This is your right, this is your democracy and the importance of the local government elections is that it has a direct bearing [on your lives]…” –