Home Affairs to expand online bookings to reduce queues

The Home Office will soon expand its online booking system in a bid to reduce queues and long waiting times at its offices, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told MPs this week.

The minister was responding in writing to a question from EFF MP Paulnita Marais, who asked what steps the department had taken to address long queues. Marais particularly challenged an office in Bloemfontein.

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

“To alleviate long queues at offices, the department piloted the appointment scheduling system at select live capture offices for smart ID card and passport applications, as well as collection of the two documents during the 2021/22 fiscal year.”

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Motsoaledi said the department would also deploy 110 mobile units to “remote” areas to provide the same services to South Africans in rural areas. He said South African banks have offered their branches across the country to offer home business services such as ID card collection.

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

The minister said delivery of birth, marriage and death documents would be prioritized and customers could pick them up at a strategically placed collection counter.

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