Home Affairs to expand online services and add more bank branch offices
The Home Office (DHA) is working to expand its online system to allow users to request their IDs and other essential documents without visiting a physical branch.
The department also intends to expand its network of satellite offices in local bank branches and bring its own counters online.
Responding to a parliamentary question and answer written this week, Home Secretary Aaron Motsoaledi said citizens with internet access can currently only apply for smart identity cards and passports online using the existing system.
These services should be extended to include a range of online options, he said, while also integrating home affairs offices.
âThe same eHome Affairs digital channel will soon be used to allow clients to make appointments, not only with participating bank branches, but also with participating Home Affairs front offices. (This will apply to) various services, not just ID cards and smart passports, âhe said.
Digitization of Home Affairs
Motsoaledi said digitization is key to the department’s future strategy.
âThe Home Office recognizes the adoption of digital transformation and the implementation of ICT technologies that improve service delivery channels. That is why there are currently electronic modernization projects and an online home affairs digital channel.
In a presentation to parliament at the end of August, the DHA presented a new appointment system that will be integrated into the national population register to allow citizens to use their identification number to reserve a slot at a counter.
The system has been finalized and will be deployed in selected offices during the current fiscal year. The aim of the system is to reduce waiting times at counters and hamper corrupt activities associated with blocking and selling slots, the department said.
More bank branches
The DHA also plans to expand its partnership with banks to offer more services at branches across the country.
In the August presentation, the ministry said that there are currently 27 bank branches that offer e-business services in six different provinces. It plans to deploy these services at 43 other sites.
âThis initiative was carried out primarily to help reduce long queues at DHA offices and to expand service platforms and enable citizens to apply for ID cards and smart passports online.
âApplicants are only required to visit the bank branch to complete biometrics, reducing time spent at the bank or at the DHA office. “
The ministry said the deployment of the pilot sites will be completed as soon as possible as this has been on hold for several years.
All of South Africa’s largest banks – except Capitec – offer E-Home Affairs at a handful of their branches.
Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank have several branches supporting the service for several years. Discovery Bank and Investec Bank recently started participating in the program with one branch each.
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