Long queues at Home Affairs in Umgeni Road, Durban. File picture:Jacques Naude

Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs on Thursday said some of its offices across the country were operating on a 7 am to 7 pm shift from January 2 to 11, in a bid to ensure that people are not turned away from their offices during this busy period. 

"On a normal shift, clients are served from 8 am until 3.30pm. This [extension of operating hours] is a result of the long queues home affairs offices had experienced last year around this time. The decision to extend the hours for this period is also in support of the war on queues campaign that was launched last year, in April," said Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele's spokesperson Siya Qoza.

"Extending office hours at large offices and selected medium offices will help ensure citizens and clients are not turned away before receiving the services they require. This will assist also in managing queues so that people do not spend a long time waiting to be served."

Home affairs urged citizens who had applied for their smart ID cards and had received notification that their cards are ready, to use this opportunity to collect them. 

"Those who have not applied for their smart ID cards are encouraged to capitalize on the extended hours and accordingly apply with speed, ahead of the general elections. All other services will be offered, including application for and collection of passports and registration of births, marriages and deaths," said Qoza.

African News Agency (ANA)