Mpumalanga police are investigating the theft of 429 identity documents from home affairs offices in Bushbuckridge.
Goodwill Masuku, the security manager, said a cleaner was the first one to discover that "something was amiss" on Monday morning.
"He found two windows open but took it for granted until he noticed that the padlock on the steel cabinet had been broken," said Masuku yesterday .
Staff discovered that 429 identity documents, two memory sticks and fingerprints biometric as well as two computers were missing.
"We are deeply disturbed, frustrated and demoralised about what happened. We can't issue IDs today because they have been stolen," said home affairs district manager Thelma Ngwenya.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi confirmed the incident and said police investigations were continuing.
The ANC expressed shock at the theft and said the timing was a cause for concern, taking into consideration the coming elections.
United Democratic Movement provincial secretary Daniel Mokgope said he smelt a rat.
"This is obviously an inside job, and it is related to the elections," said Mokgope.