Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has directed his department to prepare a comprehensive report and strategy on managing the long queues at home affairs offices across the country.
The Department of Home Affairs noted that since his return to the department, Gigaba has been inundated with calls from members of the public regarding the time they spent at offices for documents like smart ID cards, passports and certificates.
“A comprehensive report and effective strategy on how to deal with this matter swiftly are a high priority as the department remains committed to delivering high quality services to citizens and other clients,” said DHA Spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete. He added that Gigaba was appealing to members of the public to exercise patience while the matter was receiving undivided attention.
“The department has made major strides in improving service delivery and is resolved on optimising the limited resources at its disposal to ensure the public is served humanely, professionally and efficiently,” Tshwete said.
To help curb the ruthless queues at Home Affairs offices, eHomeAffairs was launched in 2016 to enable South African born citizens to apply for their new Smart ID Cards and/or passports online.
Earlier this year, the DHA said that discussions with the banks involved in the Smart ID rollout were continuing to increase capacity, through additional bank branches.
“Those with access to the net should apply through eHomeAffairs, however, they can only finalise their applications in 14 banks of which 13 are in Gauteng and only one in Cape Town as pilot sites,” the DHA said.
The DHA also plans to pilot an electronic visa (e-visa) system by March 2019 to boost tourism and improve turnaround times of travel documentation.
In March, Home Affairs was hit by controversy after a video surfaced showing a woman mistakenly stamping a passport twice while constantly looking at her phone and then handing back the documents. Gigaba has since called for an investigation into the official who appeared in the video.
Gigaba was previously the Minister of Home Affairs, before being appointed as the Minister of Finance by former President Jacob Zuma. Soon after his Budget speech this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa reappointed him as the Minister of Home Affairs.