Africa-Press – South-Africa. The government has suspended civil marriages at all the major Home Affairs offices, including the application for new IDs and passports, until February 15 while the country battles surging Covid-19 infections.
This was revealed by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday during a virtual briefing, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to extend the adjusted Level 3 lockdown until next month, due to the surge of infections and deaths.
Motsoaledi was briefing the media along with Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. He emphasised that civil marriages and the issuing of IDs would be halted until the number of Covid-19 infections drop significantly.
However, he said special dispensation for IDs would only be made for matric pupils and passports for people in the cargo, commercial and emergency medical fields who were allowed to travel to neighbouring countries in accordance to the adjusted level 3 lockdown.
Detailing the restrictions, Motsoaledi concurred with Ramaphosa’s statement when he said on Monday the cabinet had decided that the 20 land ports of entry that were currently open would be closed until February 15 for general entry and departure.
These include the six busiest border posts, which are Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein.
Ramaphosa said people would, however, still be allowed to enter or depart the country for: the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods, emergency medical attention for a life-threatening condition.
“The return of South African nationals, permanent residents or persons with other valid visas, diplomats, the departure of foreign nationals, daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend school in South Africa. The full list of exemptions will be contained in the regulations.’’
Motsoaledi also said it was necessary that the country maintained level 3 measures until the peak of infections passed.
He also said only those who are due to collect their IDs at Home Affairs offices would be allowed to do so but only after receiving a formal notification through an SMS.
“We also appeal to funeral parlours and those registering births to do so at their respective health facilities. There are Home Affairs officials at most of the hospitals in the country. We are encouraging funeral parlours to do death registrations at the hospitals,” Motsoaledi said.
He said Home Affairs office hours would, however, be extended until 7pm to allow people to do birth and death registrations.