The Department of Home Affairs has made it more convenient for people to apply for smart card IDs and passports.
People living in Gauteng and Cape Town no longer have to queue to apply for their documents but can now apply online and collect them from their banks at a specified date.
The department has partnered with the country’s four major banks namely: Absa, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedbank, to make the concept of e-Home Affairs a reality.
The system aims to reduce long queues at the 140 offices throughout the country and make the department’s services more readily accessible.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said South Africa is the first country to implement such a system.
e-Home Affairs allows people who are aged 30 to 35 years old to apply for their smart ID’s and passports, upload supporting documents and pay for their applications online. They can also make an appointment with their selected banks to have their photos taken and fingerprints verified.
Shortly thereafter, an SMS will be sent to the applicant stating when they can collect their documents. The cost for the smart card ID is R140 and R400 for a passport.
More than 4 000 people have registered through the portal so far.
Speaking during the launch of the system, President Jacob Zuma said he was pleased with the improved security measures Home Affairs was putting in place. He said the introduction of the smart ID card in 2013 to replace the current green barcoded ID book was a milestone.
“We are happy indeed that the banks have teamed up with the Department of Home Affairs. This department is central to the lives of our people and all others residing in our country,” he said.
President Zuma called on the private sector to support the department as much as possible.
Getting more banks involved
Meanwhile Minister Gigaba said his department will get other banks to come on board.
“We are trying to expand our footprint and make it convenient for people to apply for their documents.
“The entire process is paperless and digitised and there is no human intervention along the line.
“You can trust that when your smart ID card is issued to you, the only time a human being has touched it is when it is being transported by an envelope from where the card was printed to the office where you are going to collect it,” said Minister Gigaba.
Home Affairs Director-General Mkhuseli Apleni said the system also aims to improve professionalism within the department.
“Corruption was rife and the identities of people were stolen and constantly under threat.
“Our department was associated with long queues and endless hours spent waiting for services and this forced us to move with the times and fall in line with the tech savvy trends of the world.
“The beauty of the system is that citizens who choose this facility do not have to queue in offices, meaning Home Affairs offices would then be freed up to attend speedily to other clients who can’t make use of the system,” said Apleni.
Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, resident Lungile Maseko told Vuk’uzenzele she was happy about the new system.
“I’m glad that government is always finding ways to improve service delivery.
“Although I can’t use the portal owing to the fact that I don’t qualify because of my age, I must admit the system is great. It will certainly eradicate corruption and people will no longer have to take time off work to sort out an ID or passport,” said Maseko.
The Department is confident that the programme will eventually be rolled out throughout the country and will result in people also going to these facilities to obtain birth and death certificates.
Bank branches already on the system
- ABSA Lifestyle Centre, Centurion.
- ABSA Towers North, Johannesburg.
- ABSA Ghandi Square, Johannesburg.
- FNB Menlyn, Pretoria.
- FNB Merchant Place, Rivonia, Johannesburg.
- FNB, Lifestyle Centre, Centurion
- Standard Bank, Killarney, Rosebank.
- Standard Bank, Canal Walk, Cape Town.
- Nedbank, Rivonia, Johannesburg.
- Nedbank, Lakeview, Roodepoort.