South Africa: Nationwide Home Affairs Failure As New Year Begins

Thousands of people across the country unable to access government services

  • The Department of Home Affairs has been offline since Tuesday due to a “technical problem” at the State Information Technology Agency.
  • As a result, thousands of people across the country have been unable to apply for necessary documentation at the start of the new year.
  • In Kariega, about 100 people who had spent time and money to get to the Home Affairs office, were left frustrated.

A nationwide failure of the Department of Home Affairs’ online system left thousands of people unable to apply for or receive necessary documents on the first two working days of 2024.

While more than 100 people waited vainly for assistance at the Home Affairs office in Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) on Wednesday, two officials, who cannot be named as they did not have authorisation to speak to the press, said messages on the work WhatsApp group showed the system had been down in the other provinces as well.

They said there was a “technical glitch” in the system, resulting in thousands of applications being unprocessed.

This was confirmed by Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza on Thursday.

In a general press release, Qoza stated the department’s services were not available due to a “technical problem on the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) mainframe which affects access to the National Population Register”.

He stated SITA had assured its technicians were attending to the matter.