Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni has defended an almost 100 percent hike in the price South Africans will have to pay for a passport, saying the increase was necessary given the new security features on passports.
Apleni announced on Thursday that cost of a passport would rise from R190 to R400 from 1 April.
Other increases will see the price of temporary identity certificates and re-issuing identity documents (ID) go from the current R20 to R140.
Child passports will rise from R145 to R400; emergency travel certificates from R70 to R140; temporary passports from R90 to R180; and maxi passports from R380 to R600.
However, Apleni was quick to point out that the hikes were unlikely to have much of an impact on the poor as the first issuing of an ID would be free.
It was the right of every South African to have an ID and the department would facilitate this by not putting any cost on the first issue, he added.
When it came to re-issuing IDs, some costs need to be recovered for producing the documents, particularly from those who wanted changes made to their IDs by adding names or correcting the spelling, when they had supplied the department with the wrong information.
"The passports we are producing now have a lot of security features in them and it is costing us more to produce them ... R400 is reasonable in our view," he said.
Meanwhile, Apleni said that the department was making progress with its efforts to clean up the National Population Register.
The department had identified two significant challenges with regards to the NPR - the duplication of ID numbers and ID numbers that did not have corresponding fingerprints.
"After going through our records, the department identified 598 000 instances of duplicate IDs. Amongst these IDs, the department has resolved 412 096 cases for one person with multiple ID numbers and 20 971 for persons sharing ID numbers."
All duplicate numbers have been blocked on the NPR and the department was now busy resolving the 164 933 outstanding cases.
In addition, while the department was translating manual fingerprints into the electronic format, 504 250 fingerprints were not converted due to poor quality.
"To date we have managed to resolve 127 166 cases and holders of the relevant ID numbers now have their fingerprints on the Home Affairs National Identification System. We are now seized with resolving 377 084 cases," he said. - BuaNews