Monday, 23 July 2018
Today’s media briefing reports on progress since launch of ‘War on Queues’ campaign, in April, to improve on waiting time at Home Affairs offices, so that citizens and other clients may receive documents and other services they need for their day-to-day transactions.
This is the first update since we launched the campaign.
It has been a slow start, but, with signs of progress in some areas.
A monitoring tool was developed, to measure average waiting time, from the time the client receives a ticket to the time the client receives the product or service.
On average it takes 25 to 30 minutes to issue a product to the client.
This analysis necessitated a review of workflow process.
This work includes a pilot to redesign the workflow so that we separate those collecting passports from the ones collecting smart ID cards.
The pilot was successfully conducted at the Pretoria office (Byron) and Cape Town Office (Barrack Street).
A directive was issued to commence rolling-out to the remaining 182 live capture offices with two or more collection counters.
Regarding the five offices identified for immediate action, namely, Alexander, Soweto, East London, Pietermaritzburg and uMngeni, a full assessment was conducted.
Implementation of the findings has started in Alexander and Soweto offices.
We are closely monitoring the performance of these interventions to ensure success.
We are currently developing mechanisms to ensure our offices are able to prioritise those that have applied online through the eHomeAffairs channel.
Currently, we have noted that even those that have applied online are still not prioritised when they get to our offices; they still stand in queues as those doing walk-in applications.
Senior managers from the Head Office continue to be deployed to provinces to monitor and support implementation.
Skills and competency assessment
A full skills matrix for all office managers is at an advanced stage. Officials’ profiles will be categorised according to competencies.
This will allow for determining training and development areas required for each office manager.
Competencies so far identified include, leadership, managing relations, problem-solving, project management and client service orientation.
Since this assessment is still ongoing, we have thus far not yet finalised the issue of the probable redeployment of some managers to offices commensurate with their skills and competency levels.
This we will do as soon as we have completed the skills and competency evaluation and assessed if managers are accordingly appropriately deployed.
On the network
The department appointed Dimension Data, to assist in assessing networks of the 184 live capture offices.
I have received a report from Dimension Data, showing problem areas.
The biggest contributor to system downtime is unavailability of power in many offices, wherein uninterrupted power supply and generator failed to switch.
Other problem areas related to the Telkom Dataline and power management.
System downtime affects offices for an average of 20 days in one month.
Provinces are implementing specific interventions to deal with queues in their areas.
For example, Provincial Managers have in place mechanisms for redirecting clients to offices with less volumes.
They are improving communication with clients through the media, (mainly radio), and other stakeholders.
Over the holiday period, offices had dedicated counters for learners, encouraging them to apply for smart ID cards and passports.
All offices were made aware of the unfolding interventions.
Roles were clearly defined for office managers, frontline officials, back office and provincial champions, for full implementation of the war on queues campaign.
At our 2018 budget debate, I said, in this financial year, the department will add 20 additional sites to the list of participating banks (Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard), as part of the live capture pilot. This will help reduce queues in the short to medium term. But for it to work for citizens, more people must start applying online for smart ID cards and passports.
The week before, we announced that our offices would experience service interruptions as upgraded our systems, introducing the digitisation of birth registration for children between 0 – 1 year.
I wish to thank South Africans for their patience during these past two weeks.
I am reliably informed that we have successfully completed the system upgrade and all services are restored.
Once more, I wish to beg for patience as we continue to do all we can to end these long queues.
I wish now to turn to a matter that has since this morning drawn the attention of many South Africans and the media, which is, the announcement of the resignation of the Director-General
I would like to announce officially that the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Mkuseli Apleni, has tendered his resignation, effective end of July 2018, to pursue other career opportunities in the private sector.
He has served the public service with distinction, in various capacities.
Mr Apleni was recruited into the Department of Home Affairs in 2009, to help improve financial management, a task he discharged impeccably.
When he arrived, the Department was achieving only 25% of its annual performance targets.
Since then, the department is achieving 89% of the targets, which underscored a marked improvement on delivery of services to our people, as well as on the performance of the department as a whole.
As a result of his diligence, the Department obtained its very first unqualified audit report in 2010/2011, which has been followed by the second obtained for the 2016/17 Financial Year.
Coming as he did ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in SA, he ensured a competent team was in place to assist in fulfilling FIFA guarantees.
In this period, the electronic movement control system was completed, thus giving impetus to the Department’s Modernisation Programme.
This was important as it was a guarantee South Africa had given for hosting the World Cup.
Mr Apleni was appointed the Director-General for the Department of Home Affairs in April 2010.
With his team, the DG accomplished so much, yet, with so little.
Of the significant achievements in which he showed leadership, is the nationwide campaign to secure the National Population Register (NPR).
The campaign ensured those with a right to citizenship were registered, and it promoted early birth registration, within 30 days of birth.
Within months of the launch of the NPR Campaign, in 2010, over a million citizens without access to rights and services were registered.
By 2012, the live capture system had been conceptualised as part of the modernisation programme, and thus in 2013, the first new smart ID card was rolled-out, and on the 16th of May 2018, the 10 millionth smart ID card was issued.
At the point that the DG is moving on, Home Affairs now has upgraded 184 offices on the live capture system, issuing smart ID cards and secured passports.
A partnership with the bank had availed 14 bank branches through which our citizens may apply, online, for smart ID cards and passports.
Together we launched the new Automated Biometric Identification System and the automation of birth registration and marriage and death certificates.
On the immigration front, we note with appreciation, the DG’s role in the comprehensive review of South Africa’s international migration policy, leading to a new White Paper on International Migration of 2017, as well as the current development of new immigration and refugee legislation, and efforts aimed at establishing an integrated border management authority for South Africa.
We remain committed to taking to their logical completion, the major projects that were unfolding with Mr Apleni as DG, including the Repositioning of Home Affairs whose business case Cabinet had approved in 2017.
This is to say that his service will be greatly missed, though I trust that he will continue contributing to the creation of a better life for our people, in other capacities.