The continued rise of Covid-19 related deaths and the lack of adherence to protocol outside of the offices has forced the Department of Home Affairs (DOH) to suspend certain services until further notice.
Senior management, including the minister and deputy minster, specifically visited the larger offices in all nine provinces to monitor the adherence to Covid-19 protocol. They found that “some form of protocols was adhered to but outside the offices it was a nightmare”.
According to a statement by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, on the first two working days of the year (4 and 5 January), the department registered 10 982 deaths. Motsoaledi states that the numbers and trends suggest there’s going to be an even greater demand for death certificates.
“Taking all these factors into consideration, the Department of Home Affairs has decided to temporarily suspend certain activities and services until further notice. This is unfortunate but we are forced by circumstances,” Motsoaledi said.
After taking certain statistics into consideration, the department has decided that the following services will have to be suspended until further notice:
- Applications of Smart ID Cards, except for matriculants
- Applications for passports, except for people who fall in the categories permitted to travel in the amended Disaster Management Act Regulations
- Marriage services such as solemnisation and registration.
The department has asked people who want to collect their ID’s not to come to Home Affairs unless they are specifically invited via an SMS.
The DOH is also proposing that all births and deaths be registered at the health facilities where they occur.
“These are the 156 health facilities with Home Affairs office presence. A list of these hospitals is available via this link >>> Hospitals Online, Twitter and Facebook accounts on the following handle, @HomeAffairsSA,” Motsoaledi added.
He said mobile units will assist where offices are either closed or where there is a need for collection or death registration, and all offices have identified designated counters for death registrations. Home Affairs will continue operating Monday to Friday, from 08:00 to 15:30.
Motsoaledi continues: “We are extending our operating hours to 19:00 to accommodate people who need to register deaths and births up to 15 February 2021. We are doing so to enable funeral parlours and families to bury their loved ones within the requisite period for COVID-19 deaths.”
He said in order to defeat this pandemic and go back to normality, the department is appealing to everyone visiting Home Affairs offices to observe COVID-19 protocols such as wearing masks properly, observing social distancing and sanitising hands regularly.
[Read] Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced the suspension of several services rendered by the Department of Home Affairs under level 3 of the lockdown https://t.co/Qdw5tXylFj #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/nzTLhj94XY
— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) January 12, 2021
“Nobody will be allowed to enter any Home Affairs office without a mask. I must add to what the President said. We have seen a massive improvement in the wearing of masks. Our biggest challenge is social distancing because people are doing it momentarily and the next moment they forget about it,” Motsoaledi ended.