Pretoria: The Department of Home Affairs has announced that it was temporarily extending operating times at front offices and ports of entry to ease congestion associated with the festive season.
“Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has approved a temporary extension of operating times at front offices, by two-and-a-half hours from 08:00 to 17:30 from today, Monday, 13 December to Thursday 30 December 2021,” the department said on Monday.
The extended hours are intended to deal with the high demand for services at home affairs offices.
“This extension period excludes weekends, public holidays, 17 and 24 December 2021 as the offices will be closed,” said the department.
Motsoaledi also extended the operating hours at some of the busiest ports of entry, by between two and seven hours, allowing some of them to operate for 24 hours.
This is to enable the continuous processing of truck drivers. Other travellers will be processed during the hours that fall outside the curfew.
“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,” said Motsoaledi.
“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.”
The department said it would offer all 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,” said Motsoaledi.
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 December 13, 2021 to January 9, 2022.
The extension means that both ports will operate for 24 hours during the approved periods.
Beit Bridge and Maseru Bridge are operating for 24 hours.
“Everyone who comes to our offices or is travelling through our ports is requested to be patient and also observe all Covid-19 protocols,” said Motsoaledi.
The minister encouraged those who applied for their IDs more than two weeks ago to collect the documents from the offices where they made their applications.