Towards the end of 2017, fake reports masquerading as notices from the Department of Home Affairs, surfaced on social media.
These notices claimed that the current green-barcoded ID books would be terminated on 31 March 2017. This drove people, in great numbers, to Home Affairs offices to apply for smart ID cards in panic.
The DHA quickly stated that these rumours were false, but another round of social media posts spiked in early January.
In a recent media statement, Home Affairs director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, stated that these rumours were false and called on the public to ignore these ‘mischievous’ messages.
According to Apleni, “responding with panic affects our systems negatively, thus making it very difficult for us to deliver services as expected, professionally and in the most humane of ways. Among others, our offices in the KwaZulu-Natal Province can barely cope with the numbers. As you will indeed understand, these false messages are putting our offices under extreme pressure, unduly, as people rush there in their numbers to get smart ID cards.”