Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, has approved the temporary extension of operating times at front offices by two and a half hours from 08:00 to 17:30 from today to 30 December 2021 – to deal with the high demand for services.

This extension period excludes weekends, public holidays, 17 and 24 December 2021, as the offices will be closed.

The Minister has also extended operating hours at some of the busiest ports of entry by between two and seven hours, making some of them operational 24 hours. This is to enable a continuous processing of truck drivers. Other travellers will be processed during the hours that fall outside the curfew.

The Minister extended operating hours at the Oshoek border with Eswatini by seven hours from 20 to 24 December and at the Lebombo border with Mozambique by six hours from 13 December 2021 to 09 January 2022.

The extension means that both ports will operate for 24 hours during the approved periods.

Beit Bridge and Maseru Bridge are already operating for 24 hours.

“Our offices and ports of entry usually receive high numbers of people during the festive season, partly because that is when most people have time to look for services or to travel.

“The temporary extension is therefore aimed at giving people more time to come to our offices or be processed through our borders in a safe manner, taking into account that COVID-19 is still with us,” said Minister Motsoaledi.

He said everyone who comes to the Home Affairs’ offices or is travelling through ports of entry is requested to be patient and also observe all COVID-19 protocols.

The Minister encouraged those who applied for their IDs more than two weeks ago to come and collect their documents at the offices where they made their applications.

In the past two months, the department issued 206 254 unabridged birth certificates, processed 187 813 ID applications, registered 129 324 births and issued 116 049 death certificates.

These are the services that were in high demand during the past two months. The department will offer all Home Affairs services during the extension period.

“The only people who will be sent home are those who arrive after 17:30. Everybody who arrives before 17:30 should be served and not turned away,” the Department Home Affairs said in a statement.

Source: South African Government News Agency