A smart identity card. File picture: GCIS
A smart identity card. File picture: GCIS

Home Affairs probes avalanche of blocked ID documents

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Dec 5, 2020

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Cape Town - The Home Affairs Department is investigating close to a million "blocked" identity documents that were found to be suspicious, duplicate or fraudulently issued with falsified supporting documents.

This was revealed by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi when he was responding in writing to Parliamentary questions from EFF MP Lorato Tito.

Tito had enquired about the total number of cases of blocked identity documents in his department.

She also wanted to know how long it took his department to investigate and resolve the matter of blocked IDs.

In his written response, Motsoaledi said the department has 813 343 identified cases of blocked identity documents falling under different categories.

"The afore-mentioned total includes cases that have to remain blocked as these cases are already investigated and/or marked for deletion so that they should not be used again as such," he said.

Motsoaledi stated that when the department delivered services to citizens and non-citizens, it came across cases of identity theft where an ID was acquired illegally, fraudulently, where supporting documents were falsified or inadvertently where identity numbers are duplicated.

"In all such cases markers are set on the National Population Register as a means of ensuring the integrity and credibility of the National Population Register.

"In addition, markers are set on identity numbers such as cases that are referred to as 'under investigation' for various reasons or causes."

Motsoaledi also said there are 517 249 duplicate IDs for cases where individuals have multiple identity numbers and in other cases two persons sharing the same ID number.

There were 17 747 fraudulent cases of deaths, 222 cases of immigrants that did not qualify for automatic citizenship and 8214 South West Africa cases.

Others included 145 619 illegal immigrants, 70 323 cases under investigations for various reasons and 53 978 cases referred to identification to investigate fingerprints records.

Motsoaledi said when the department received cases of that nature, they first have to investigate these cases to establish if indeed the ID was acquired illegally and those Identity numbers are definitely blocked.

"Where there is sufficient evidence provided to the contrary, markers are lifted accordingly."

He also said some of the reasons that mainly attribute to IDs being blocked and markers are set on the National Population Register included duplicated ID numbers and illegal immigrants who obtained SA documents fraudulently.

There were also false registrations of births, marriages and deaths as well as investigation purposes of suspicious ID obtained fraudulently with falsified supporting documents.

Motsoaledi said it takes the department approximately six to eight weeks to resolve and to finalise blocked IDs provided all required supporting documents to resolve these cases were obtained from the applicant.

"This includes the time when the client visits the front office and the receipt of all requested documentation to resolve the case in line with the standard operating procedures," he said.

Political Bureau

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