The Department of Home Affairs has last week launched the eHomeAffairs portal, on 7 April 2016, at Gallagher Convention Centre, in Midrand. This was to allow for South Africans to start applying for Smart ID Cards and Passports online.
The new online system provides for citizens to apply for documents from the comfort of their homes, or offices. In this regard, people apply and pay online and then go to their selected bank to have their photo taken and their fingerprints verified.
The beauty of the system is that citizens, who choose this facility, do not have to queue in offices. Home Affairs Offices would then be freed to attend speedily to other clients, thus confirming our promise that the days of ‘the horror affairs’ are over.
We trust that the new eHomeAffairs initiative will assist greatly to reduce long queues in front offices while accelerating the replacement of Green-barcoded ID books with Smart ID Cards. In this regard, we appeal to clients to bring along their ID books and required supporting documents. At the end of the day, we want to see better service for citizens and improved professionalism on our part.
There is no going back. We understand clearly the critical importance to build a department that plays a fundamental role in security, economic development and service delivery. Much ground has been covered since the design and roll-out of our high-tech Smart ID Card and improved Passport.
Another milestone in this regard has been the Memorandum of Understanding that our department has concluded with four major banks in South Africa – ABSA, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. To date we have rolled out the online system to 11 bank branches.
It is a carefully considered view on our part that eHomeAffairs has been well received by the public as is evident also in the number of applications received, in the first week.
As Home Affairs, we really want to thank the banks for this initiative, and we truly appreciate the partnership we have. In addition, we have established a Steering Committee to continually monitor the implementation and performance of the system.
As we have announced, the platform is being used mostly by citizens in the targeted group – 30-35 years old. Our monitoring shows there is a sizeable interest shown even by other age groups. Our appeal is for more 30-35 citizens to seize the moment, and apply. Others will follow in due course, including the holders of permanent residence permits as well as those that have been naturalized.
Since the inception of eHomeAffairs, on 7 April, four thousand and eighty eight (4088) citizens have registered through the portal, of which 140 online applications have been successfully concluded across the four banks. Slow on day 1 at 229 applications, 1687 on day 2, a slight drop on day 3 (189) and day 4 (162) and back to higher numbers with 1001 on day 5, and 730 by yesterday.
The lowest numbers of applications were experienced during the weekend, with Sunday (10 April) receiving the lowest online submissions. There are appointments booked up to the end of April.
We are satisfied that the online system is functioning very well with clients appreciating its efficiency and the shortest time they have to spend in the banks for capturing of biometrics. Those who experience challenges during the application process should not contact the banks but should instead contact the Home Affairs Toll Free number on 0800 60 11 90.
eHomeAffairs is hosted on the DHA website and will provide a secure portal to complete the application process and make a booking to finalise the process at a participating bank branch.
We rely on a throttling mechanism which currently allows for 600 concurrent hits. When this limit is reached, applicants get a re-direct page indicating that the system is experiencing higher volumes, and at that point applicants are accordingly advised to retry.
Given that for now focus is largely on Gauteng and the Canal Walk in the Western Cape, we wish to appeal to citizens outside these areas not to use the facility, till further notice.
What is really strategic for Home Affairs is both to develop more capacity, including human resources, and to use modern technology sufficiently to improve lives of people.
The Department is currently engaging the banks through the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) swiftly to develop an engagement model for further rollout to the banks. The outcome in this regard will be communicated once the process has been concluded.
With better, faster and more secure services, people have more reason to celebrate freedom, as we do in this month of April. This department is central to the lives of our people and all others residing in our country, as the President rightly said last week at the launch of eHomeAffairs.
I thank you.
LIST OF BANK BRANCHES ALREADY ON THE SYSTEM
|ABSA CENTURION, LIFESTYLE CENTRE||FNB MENLYN, PRETORIA||STANDARD BANK CENTURION; STANDARD BANK BUILDING||NEDBANK RIVONIA, JOHANNESBURG|
|ABSA TOWERS NORTH,JOHANNESBURG||FNB MERCHANT PLACE, RIVONIA, JOHANNESBURG||STANDARD BANK KILLARNEY, ROSEBANK||NEDBANK LAKEVIEW, ROODEPOORT|
|ABSA GHANDI SQUARE,JOHANNESBURG||FNB CENTURION, LIFESTYLE CENTRE||STANDARD BANK CANAL WALK, CAPE TOWN|