People applying for IDs and passports online: Home Affairs

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Home Affairs Chief information officer Sello Mmakau at a press conference in Pretoria, South Africa where he demonstrated the new ID card reader. Home Affairs is hoping to issue at least 100 000 Smart-ID cards within the next two months.

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs has launched a service allowing members of the public to apply for ID cards and passports online.

Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said thousand of people had applied for smart ID cards and passports online following the inception of the eHomeAffairs portal in conjunction with major banks.

“Since the inception of eHomeAffairs last week, 4,088 citizens have registered through the portal, of which 140 online applications have been successfully concluded across the four banks,” Apleni said in Pretoria.

Apleni said the new online system now enabled citizens to apply for documents from the comfort of their homes or offices. 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,” said Apleni.

“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.”

The banks already involved in the initiative are ABSA, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. The system has so far been rolled out to 11 bank branches.

“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,” said Apleni.

“Others will follow in due course, including the holders of permanent residence permits as well as those that have been naturalised,” he added.

Apleni said for now, the pilot project was for Gauteng and the Canal Walk in the Western Cape.

“Some people have gone on to banking websites….you get your picture taken and you’re out of there pretty quickly,” added the department&39;s  spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete.

- Additional reporting by ANA