Gigaba announces the “war on queues”

Cape Town – Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, has announced a campaign targeting the long queues that plague home affairs offices nationwide.

“This will be a critical component of concerted efforts to ensure citizens and other clients are served professionally when they seek access, in-person or digitally, to services we offer,” said Gigaba at a media briefing.

He added that Home Affairs has had tremendous successes in reducing turnaround times for the production of documents.

“The critical challenge for us now is to reduce the amount of time clients spend in our offices,” he said.

According to the Assessment Report Gigaba received on Home Affairs, long queues came from high client volumes, possible discontinuation of Saturday working hours, leadership issues and front office space.

Addressing the media, Gigaba explained that of the 411 Home Affairs offices nationally, only 184 were on Live Capture. Only these 184 offices were processing applications and collections of smart ID cards and passports while offering other services.

“In spite of these limitations and scarce resources and capacity, since the roll-out of smart ID cards in 2013, our offices have issued over 9 million cards. For example, the office here in Pretoria has produced 7000 cards in January as opposed to its operational capability of 3500 a month,” said Gigaba.

He has called for the implementation of actions in the short-term, some of which the Department was already carrying out.

One of these actions included a pilot of a one-stop workstation that takes fingerprints and photographs, to streamline processes and reduce time clients spend in Home Affairs offices.

The 78 mobile units were currently being refurbished, while Gigaba said they were confident that they will be deployed across the country during the second half of this year.

Some of the short-term actions were scheduled for roll-out from Monday, 23 April 2018.

“We will commission a customer satisfaction survey, get the client contact centre working optimally, find a solution for unpredictable walk-in clients and for front office space, explore possibilities of a new shift system, attend to the unstable system, scale-up unannounced visits by senior managers to offices, improve workflow and beef-up communication with clients,” said Gigaba.

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