The Department of Home Affairs is still issuing new passports embossed with the old apartheid-era coat of arms, six years after South Africa introduced its new coat of arms.

This has infuriated some people, including politicians, who describe the use of the old emblem as "inappropriate" and "unacceptable", saying it should be corrected immediately.

The department has admitted the blunder, but said it could not resolve the matter immediately.

The old State emblem has a shield at its centre depicting the four provinces of the old South Africa - including an ox wagon for Transvaal, a woman with an anchor for the Cape, two wildebeest for Natal and an orange tree for the Orange Free State.

The new coat of arms is a series of elements in two distinct circles placed on top of one another.

The elements are the rising sun, a secretary bird, a protea, a spear and knobkerrie, human figures, a shield, elephant tusks, ears of wheat and the motto written in the Khoisan language of the Xam people, which means "diverse people unite".

Sibuyi said the new emblem would be displayed on document covers once the old stock had been finished.

He could not say how many covers bearing the old state emblem the department still has in the stock.