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Home Affairs on track with improving services to citizens

by Vivian Warby
on 07 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Good headway has been made in improving Home Affair's civic services, says Minister of Public Services and Administration Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.

"The turnaround time for the processing of an application for an ID has been reduced from 186 days on average to 103 days," the minister said at a Governance and Administration cluster briefing on Tuesday.

This meant that the department was well on its way to meeting its time-frame targets of reducing the time it took to apply for an Identity Document (ID) by half within the next year, so that by the end of this year citizens will only have to wait two months to receive their ID documents.

In five years time, if time-frame targets are met, South Africans will only have to wait one week to get their ID document and five days to get their passports.

The Track and Trace system to assist citizens to track progress with the processing of their ID applications via SMS had been fully rolled out, the minister said.

"A single service provider now delivers and collects IDs, which has improved efficiency and security."

The ID Track and Trace system is one of the Department of Home Affairs' major achievements.

Not only did the system cut queues, it also helped detect corruption, manage performance of managers and helped citizens to check progress in the processing of the ID books.

To further improve services, a high-tech printer for the e-Passport had been purchased. An online fingerprint verification project had also been rolled out to 40 offices.

Online verification allows temporary ID certificates to be issued on the spot instead of the usual seven-day waiting period, she said.

"Preparations are underway to issue pilot smart ID cards by the end of the year.

"Changes to the late registration of birth procedures have been effected to reduce fraud and protect the integrity of the national Population Register," Minister Fraser-Moleketi said.

She said that Phase 1 of the Home Affairs Turnaround Strategy has also been completed.

The first phase has cracked down on dishonest officials, among other things.

It saw over 200 officials suspended or dismissed for dishonest activities in the last six months, the minister said.

Some other achievements of Phase 1 regarding internal governance included:

* The previous six audit reports of the department had been reviewed and all key risk areas had been categorised and prioritised;

* A new operating model for the department was determined after a customer survey and stakeholder engagement;

* A new organisational structure was designed in line with the operating model;

* Top posts were filled and a budget structure determined and

* A programme to stabilise the existing operational infrastructure including the network was underway, aimed at developing real time online capability and enhanced security.

Phase 2, which is a large-scale change programme to improve the citizen experience at Home Affairs offices, was now underway. - BuaNews


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