The Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the Department of Home Affairs has no plans to roll out Smart ID Cards to indigent and unemployed South Africans. This was revealed to the DA in a Parliamentary reply by the Minister of Home Affairs. The reply further states that Government will only provide free Smart ID Cards to the elderly and first time applicants.
The DA believes this will disproportionately affect people who simply cannot afford to pay for the new Smart ID . Assisting indigent and unemployed people with free Smart ID cards, would not be a handout, but rather a means to empower citizens to access employment, educational and other opportunities.
We are of the view that Government should provide indigent and unemployed persons, who earn less than a set amount per year, access to free Smart ID cards.
The ANC government should go an extra mile to empower those South Africans who are poverty stricken largely because of numerous government failures to attract investment that will create employment opportunities. Living without an identity document can be extremely limiting for the poor as they struggle to access housing, sanitation, healthcare or even basic education, and ultimately excludes them from meaningfully participating in our society.
Unlike the uncaring ANC government, where the DA governs we are going above and beyond to empower South Africans, especially those living in abject poverty and who are unemployed.
The DA-run City of Cape Town is offering registered job seekers two free MyCiTi bus journeys every week to support them in their efforts to find employment. And in the DA-led City of Johannesburg, the City offers the Siyasizana social package to indigent residents which include subsidies on water, electricity and transport.
As the DA, we are unambiguous about our commitment to be champions of the people. However, to get there, government must create an enabling environment for investment that will create opportunities.
We therefore implore the Department of Home Affairs to meet the needs of poor South Africans who cannot afford to pay for the new smart IDs, and enabling them to become active citizens who will contribute to the advancement of this country.