South Africa: Clarity on the temporary identification (ID) cards for displaced persons
Last night's deadline set for registration and issuing of ID cards strictly applied to foreign nationals accommodated at Glenanda Shelter in Rifle Range Road, Gauteng.
It is important to note that the deadline was a direct response to the challenges of non-compliance and violence experienced at Glenanda Shelter. The Department of Home Affairs is currently busy registering and issuing temporary IDs to foreign nationals in all other shelters in the country and has not experienced problems similar to those encountered in the Glenanda shelter.
The department is today conducting a verification exercise in Glenanda to determine the identities of those accommodated in the Shelter. Of the 1 850 people living in the shelter, about 900 have registered and were issued with the card as of last night.
The primary purpose of the temporary ID cards is to provide access control at the shelters, ensuring the safety and security of its residents. Additionally, the ID enables the shelter managers, government departments and numerous organisations providing assistance to identify residents.
The ID card, a legal document in terms of section 31(2) (b) of Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No.13 of 2002), also provides legal status to those persons who either lost their documents or were undocumented at the time the violence erupted.
Granting of the temporary ID cards does not cancel or replace any valid documentation an individual may have received prior. Those individuals with valid permits such as work permits, asylum seeker permits or refugee status will not lose that status. Recipients of the temporary ID cards would still be required to apply for the relevant documentation from the Department of Home Affairs if they did not have other legal documents prior to receiving this card. Exemption is granted for a period not exceeding six months.
Those without temporary ID cards and who cannot produce any form of documentation showing they have permission to be in the country, will be subjected to deportation in accordance with the Immigration Act of 2002. Foreign nationals who have legal documents such as asylum seeker permits or refugee status permits will not be deported, but will not be allowed in the shelters if they do not have the temporary ID cards.
During the past month the Department of Home Affairs has issued 6 000 temporary ID cards to persons displaced by the recent xenophobic attacks. The roll-out of the special permit has been carried out in consultation with various stakeholders including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Gauteng and Western Cape provincial governments and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
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Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
22 July 2008