Home Affairs to expand online bookings to cut queues

The Department of Home Affairs will soon expand its online booking system in a bid to cut queues and long waiting times at its offices, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told Members of Parliament this week.

The minister was replying in writing to a question from EFF MP Paulnita Marais, who asked what action the department had taken to address long queues. Marais took particular issue with an office in Bloemfontein.

Online booking has been rolled out at a handful of branches in SA already and allows people to book appointments for documents and collect them with minimal waiting time. Motsoaledi said the e-booking system would be rolled out to other identified high-volume offices in the next few years.

“To alleviate long queues at offices the department has piloted the Branch Appointment Booking System at some live capture offices for smart ID card and passports applications, as well as for the collections of both documents during the 2021/22 financial year.”

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Motsoaledi said the department would also deploy 110 mobile units to “far-flung” areas to deliver the same services to South Africans in rural areas. He said South Africa’s banks have offered their branches across the country are offering Home Affairs services such as ID card collection.

“The department also has a strategy to expand its infrastructure and its footprint, whereby currently 28 bank branches which are operational and available to service clients requiring DHA services,” Motsoaledi said.

The minister said the delivery of documents pertaining to births, marriages and deaths would be prioritised and that clients could collect these at a strategically placed collection counter.

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