Durban area residents have been unable to get passports and smart card IDs for over three weeks due to ‘technical glitches’. Again and again, the people from townships were making tremendous sacrifices to get to the offices only to be turned away because the computers were not working.
According to David Hlabane, Home Affairs spokesperson, an upgrade of the Live Capture System led to the computers going offline. He mentioned that the technical issue did not affect such services and transactions as the issuing of birth, marriage and death certificates.
“The system upgrade affected all the 193 modernised offices that are on Live Capture, from last Friday, March 29, at 3pm. The offices were to be back online on Monday, April 1,” he explained.
“However, after the upgrades, there were some technical glitches and the offices were still offline. The offices are back online, although we are still working on stabilising the system following the upgrades,” Hlabane added.
It is reported that the residents had been complaining about the computers being offline long before March 29. Prethumb Bechan, 65, said that three weeks ago he got up as early as 5am to go to Home Affairs in Umgeni Road to renew his and his wife’s passports before a trip.
“The computers worked for about an hour and then we had to sit and wait. Then at around 1pm, staff told us they were offline,” Bechan said.
The situation was the same at the Park Rynie and Isipingo offices.
“At the time, staff told me there was a problem with the server in Pietermaritzburg,” he said.
Margi de Kock, a pensioner from Morningside, who also wanted to renew her passport, claimed that the Umgeni Road office was offline on March 26. She was told the system had crashed.
The Department has apologised for the inconvenience and assured members of the public the matter is being attended to.