Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba told Parliament that his department had issued more than 680 000 smart ID cards to South Africans 16 and older in the last year.
The department began its campaign of replacing the old identity document book with the smart ID card in a roll-out system that includes distribution through the country’s major banks.
However‚ the department acknowledged that there were some instances during which the department had to distribute ID books instead of smart ID cards.
In a letter to Parliament circulated in the legislature’s announcements‚ tabling and committee reports‚ Gigaba said the in the current financial period the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) issued more than half a million cards.
“During the fourth quarter of the 2015-2016 financial year‚ the DHA issued 683 550 smart ID cards to persons 16 years of age and above. There were 69 903 first-issue identity documents issued within 54 working days and 51 468 re-issued IDs within 47 working days‚” said Gigaba.
He said Home Affairs director-general Mkhuseli Apleni reported that the reason why the department was still continuing with ID books‚ despite the new smart ID‚ was because there were still mostly small rural offices which relied on manual applications.
“The DG reported that from April to June 2016 there were 190 440 births registered within 30 days; 719 178 smart ID cards issued to citizens 16 years of age and above; 63 223 first-issue IDs within 54 working days and 43 872 re-issued IDs within 47 working days‚” the minister said.
Gigaba said that‚ during quarter one of 2016-17 financial year‚ the department had achieved 82% of its 38 targets for that period.