HOME Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor has vowed to defend in court her decision to invalidate duplicate IDs by the end of October and multiple IDs by December — a decision that is being challenged by Lawyers for Human Rights.
The human rights organisation has brought a court application to declare "unlawful and unconstitutional" efforts to block any citizen’s duplicate identity numbers "without giving them a chance to respond".
"I will oppose the application as I have indicated the efforts we have made to contact those affected, before we invalidate their identity numbers," she said on Thursday at a media briefing in Pretoria.
She said the department would embark on yet another advertising campaign to alert the public to the names of those affected.
"We encourage those with duplicate (two people share an ID) or multiple (one person has more than one) IDs to use the sms number 32551 or ring the call centre-number 0800-601190 to check their status," she said.
With regard to the permanent residence permit backlog, she said she was disappointed her department had been unsuccessful in adjudicating thousands of applications for permits within the set eight-month time frame.
"I have appointed 20 full-time staff to focus solely on adjudicating permanent residence. This team is currently undergoing training and is expected to assume their duties from November 1."
The purpose of the project is to clear 23,945 applications for permanent residence over three months. This backlog dates back to 2009.
The project will focus on applications filed in 2009/2010, followed by 2011 applications and lastly 2012/2013 applications.
The team would also focus on permanent residence categories that were of national economic importance such as work, quota skills, extraordinary skills and business permits, she said.
Ms Pandor also commented on British national Samantha Lewthwaite — allegedly linked to the Nairobi mall attacks — saying she could not have used a South African passport, which she secured using an assumed identity, because the document was cancelled in 2011 and Interpol was alerted.
Her passport and that of her two children were cancelled because they had been "fraudulently acquired" using a late registration of birth in an assumed name of Natalie Faye Webb.
As a result, the minister said the department was going through legal channels to stop this process of late registration and ensure that infrastructure was available to capture registration of children at birth across the country.
She said the late registration process contributed to compromising the integrity of the national population register.
However, safety measures had been taken since the Lewthwaite matter in 2011 to ensure that new passport applications were compared to the national population register, Ms Pandor said.
She said the Kenyan government had not yet contacted the South African government regarding the mall attack horror, saying the South African government security cluster of ministers were disturbed by it and would assist Kenya in anyway possible.