- During the first five days of January, home affairs offices registered 10 532 deaths.
- Minister Aaron Motsoaledi fears the numbers could soar by the end of January.
- In December 2020, the department processed 55 676 death registrations.
The Department of Home Affairs registered 10 532 deaths in the first five days of the new year.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi fears the numbers could soar by the end of January.
"In December 2018, the department registered 36 825 deaths. In December 2019, there were 38 620 deaths and, in December 2020, there were 55 676 death registrations," Motsoaledi said.
"If these trends and numbers are going upwards, it suggests there is going to be an even greater demand for death certificates than there is already. There is a greater demand now and we believe it is going to get worse.
"We have proposed that all births and deaths be registered at the health facility where they took place. Birth and death certificates can be collected at the hospital where they took place, especially at hospitals that have home affairs offices. Not all hospitals have home affairs offices," said Motsoaledi.
Mobile units will also be erected to assist whenever offices are closed or when there is a need for collection of death registrations.
"All offices will have identified and designated counters for death registration. Offices will continue to operate from Monday to Friday from 08:00 until 15:30. We are extending our operation hours to 19:00 to accommodate people who need to register deaths and births.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, home affairs services were suspended to reduce the number of people visiting our offices. It is difficult to limit the risk of infection when there are many people at our offices who fail to observe social distancing. In terms of the public service rules, we were required that only 1% of staff must report for duty, and that 1% could not serve a normal load of people."
Motsoaledi said, as lockdown levels were relaxed, they incrementally reinstated services until 1 October 2020 when the country went into alert Level 1.
Meanwhile, Motsoaledi said certain essential services, including movement of cargo and commercial goods, emergency medical treatment, opening for diplomats, deportation of people and opening for people who wish to go back home, will be allowed access to border gates.
"Even during the hard lockdown, we didn't stop people from going to their countries. South Africans will also be allowed to return home.
"Learners from neighbouring countries, who attend school daily in South Africa and return to their countries, especially those in Maseru who attend schools in various parts of the Free State, will continue to do so," Motsoaledi said