Home Affairs to support Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) ahead of 2011 local government elections
27 Jan 2011
We are honoured by the presence of the Deputy CEO of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Mosotho Moepya in our press conference today. As you may well be aware, the IEC is one of the legal entities that supports the constitutional mandate of the Department of Home Affairs.
Firstly on behalf of Minister Dlamini Zuma and the Chairperson of the IEC Dr Brigalia Bam, we join the people of our country and indeed the world in extending our best wishes to President Nelson Mandela. Our thoughts and prayer reach out to him as he undergoes his routine test in hospital in Johannesburg convinced that he is indeed in good medical hands at the hospital.
This year we will witness South Africa’s fourth democratic local government elections in which the people of our country will participate in electing their representatives for various local councils across the country.
This is indeed a democratic right of all South Africans as enshrined in the founding document of our country - the national constitution, which guarantees the right of every citizen to “vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret, stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.”
This year’s local government elections will therefore once more contribute to consolidating and deepening gains made by our people since 1994 with the dawn of peace, democracy and justice.
In this regard, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has recently announced its plans for the first voter registration weekend scheduled for 5 to 6 February 2011 in preparation for this year’s Local Government Elections.As government, we have a responsibility to do everything in our power to support the IEC to discharge its mandate effectively.
Accordingly, as the Department of Home Affairs, which carries the constitutional mandate to support the IEC to deliver a credible, free and fair local government elections, we have been directed by Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to put plans in place to help our people to exercise their right to vote.
Critical is the need for the department to ensure that those who apply for ID’s are provided with such documents timeously to enable them to exercise their democratic right to vote as well as access the necessary social services provided by government.
It is our conviction that an ID is a passport to a better life to which all South Africans are entitled. Accordingly, and as per directives of Minister Dlamini Zuma, Home Affairs will open all its offices between 08h00 and 17h00 across the country to coincide with dates for voter registration with a view to ensuring those who wish to apply for ID’s are adequately serviced. Our officials will also work extended hours a day ahead of the voter registration weekend.
In addition, we will as a department deploy officials and mobile offices to areas in the country where no home affairs offices exist in close proximity to registration stations to render services to our people. The Department has at its disposal 117 mobile offices operating countrywide to assist in specifically rural areas and 298 offices with online verification capability. Home Affairs officials will be available to assist with the handing over of IDs, collection and processing of first and reissue applications as well as with any enquiries. We will also be visiting flood ravaged areas to assist those who may have lost their enabling documents, including IDs.
Of serious concern to the department, however, is that our offices across the country have at this stage a total of 767 889 (seven hundred and sixty seven thousand eight hundred and eighty nine) unclaimed ID’s. Unless these ID’s are claimed, owners will not be able to exercise their democratic right to vote.
In this context, therefore, we make a national appeal to all those who have applied and have been duly informed via sms of the availability of such ID’s to make every effort to ensure collection of these ID’s from their nearest Home Affairs offices.
In this regard, we will be working with local stakeholder forums established throughout the country to assist in the mobilisation of our communities behind the ID campaign.
IDs are, for security reasons, only held at the office of application for a period of six months from date of issue and then forwarded to Head Office for a further period of six months, following which they are earmarked for destruction.
Upon receipt of the identity documents on the Track and Trace system at the office of application, an automatic text message is sent to the mobile phone number of the applicant. This is followed by two reminder messages. It is thereof imperative that correct existing mobile phone numbers be provided in the application.
In the absence of a cell phone number, a contact number of a relative/friend can also be provided. Applicants must however ensure that the contact person is duly informed that his/her contact details were provided for this purpose.
Applicants who applied for IDs, can check the status of their applications at the Department’s call centre which can be contacted on the toll free number 0800 601190 or by using the sms service.You can type in: ID followed by the identity number to 32 551.
Cell: 082 990 4853
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
27 Jan 2011
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