Mkuseli Apleni, director-general of the Department of Home Affairs. File photo: Etienne Creux

Close to 430 000 identity documents still need to be collected from Home Affairs offices around the country, director general Mkuseli Apleni said on Tuesday.

Briefing MPs on duplicate and uncollected identity documents (IDs), Apleni said the new tariff system had drastically reduced the number of uncollected IDs, from last year's figure of 880 000.

Apleni acknowledged that there were still problems, as many people were not coming forward to collect IDs, or to verify whether their identify numbers were duplicated.

Over 300 ,000 documents were waiting to be picked up at Home Affairs' head office, while 125 000 were still at provincial Home Affairs offices.

“The bulk of uncollected IDs are a re-issues,” Apleni said.

He said several measures were in place to alert people to pick up their IDs, including sms messages.

“People pay R140 and still don't collect. You can't live without an ID document. You need it to get your grant, your driver's licence,” he said.

The department had also identified close to 30,000 cases where people shared an ID number.

Despite the department going to great lengths to publish the names of those who with duplicate ID numbers, the response was slow.

Less than 10 percent of people had contacted the department to have their cases investigated and cleared up.

Apleni suspected that foreigners were involved and would not come forward.

In addition, the department had got the SA Social Security Agency, TransUnion, the SA Banking Risk Information Centre, MTN and Vodacom to run the numbers against their databases.

Apleni believed the new ID smart card system, once rolled out nationally, would resolve the problem.

“It's based on a fingerprint. There's no way ID numbers can be duplicated,” he said. - Sapa