South Africa told to develop online passport system


South Africa's opposition has told the government to open online applications for IDs and passports in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior Democratic Alliance officials called on Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi to make the changes following the suspension of physical services.

Home Affiars has has temporarily suspended certain critical services, including applications for smart identity documents (IDs), passports, marriage registration and the solemnization of marriages.

The DA warned that the move to suspend some services will prevent benefits being received by those who need it.

“We are aware this will be difficult on people. Please bear with us. We are trying to save lives while providing enabling documents,” Motsoaledi said.

The suspension of applications for ID cards, passports, and marriage services follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the level 3 lockdown will be extended.

As part of the extended lockdown, the 20 land ports of entry that were previously open would be closed until 15 February for entry and departure.

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