Home Affairs declares war on long queues

Sunday, April 22, 2018

In a bid to cut down on snaking queues at Home Affairs offices, Minister Malusi Gigaba has set the process of implementing short term interventions to deal with long queues in motion through a War on Queues campaign.

The campaign follows an assessment report conducted by the department following queries from members of the public and journalists about the time spent at Home Affairs offices.

The department has already started with the implementation of some of its short-term interventions which harps on the need to improving management of its offices and streamline workflow to ensure efficiency.

“Segmentation of offices into green, yellow and red based on their performances. This was achieved. Performance ratings and performance management interventions of all red offices.

“A report on interventions to be taken immediately in the remaining red offices, to address long queues,” said Minister Gigaba at a briefing in Tshwane on Sunday.  

In addition to segmenting the underperforming offices and conducting reports on performance of these offices, the following interventions will be rolled-out:

  • An analysis of geographical footprint showing which areas of the population are underserved based on reasonable benchmarks of (1) distance to one of our offices, and (2) Front Line Officers in relation to surrounding population.
  • Proposals on how to measure customer experience and waiting times in offices, and on how to deal with structural challenges of long waiting times.
  • A report on immediate interventions in Orlando West, Wynberg in Alexandra, Pietermaritzburg, Centurion, East London and Umgeni offices, showing reductions in waiting times and what has been done in ensuring people are not waiting outside offices to be served.
  • Visits to the four offices by Executive Committee members and Provincial Managers.
  • Pilot of a one-stop workstation that takes fingerprints and photographs, to streamline processes and reduce time clients spend in Home Affairs offices.
  • The 78 mobile units are currently being refurbished and we are confident that during the second half of this year they will be deployed across the country.

The interventions will be rolled-out as short, medium and long term interventions with some of the short term interventions set to kick in from Monday, 23 April 2018.

The report which aimed to knit pick some of the causes of the snaking queues highlighted that long queues emanate from high client volumes, possible discontinuation of Saturday working hours, unstable systems, inefficient work flow process, leadership issues and front office space issues.

In addition to these the assessment report highlighted that following factor compound the problem of long queues:

  • Poor management in some office
  • Ineffective utilization of staff (over and under supply)
  • Lack of an appointment system
  • Inefficient management of queues
  • Concurrent running of manual and automated systems
  • Uneven distribution of offices based on demographics
  • Misinformation and discontinuation of green barcoded IDs

Poor signage at offices

While the Minister pleaded for patience while efforts are carried out to reduce lines, he added that the department is in talks with the banking sector to increase the roll-out of ehomeaffairs services.

“Ultimately, to be able to serve all South Africans efficiently, we need to expand our footprint. This will need to be addressed through the budget process.

“To complement our office footprint, we are in the advanced stages of establishing a public private partnership with the banking sector to roll out the ehomeaffairs service to branches of four major banks – Absa, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank – around the country over the next year,” said the Minister Gigaba. - SAnews.gov.za


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