Home Affairs on the right track

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs is a step ahead in changing the way it does business and delivering services to the people.

Delivering her Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said the department has established forums to improve its quality of service delivery by identifying needs in the communities, oversight of offices and resolving problems innovatively. 

"Where gaps and challenges have been identified, the department is responding positively by implementing the requisite measures. These measures include increasing our footprint, deploying more staff in existing offices and mobile offices as well as opening new offices especially in rural areas," Dlamini Zuma said. 

Plans are in full swing to introduce the paperless filing system that will eventually replace the current bar-coded Identity Document (ID).

This will lead to the introduction of the Smart Identity cards, which will not only be safer but will reduce the production turnaround time due to the printing systems ability to print higher volumes.

Dlamini Zuma said the roll out will be in the next (2012/13) financial year.

"Last year we committed to piloting the smart card. In this regard, we are pleased to inform the House that this has been done. The GPW [Government Printing Works] has produced the Crew Member Certificate, which is used internationally by our pilots and crew members.

"This has laid a solid foundation for piloting an ID smart card in this financial year, with a roll out in the 2012/13 financial year," Dlamini-Zuma said.

She also announced that over 1.3 million people who applied for a re-issue of their IDs in the past year have failed to collect them. The department is also sitting with more than 750 000 unclaimed IDs.

"This year, we processed 1 353 256 applications from people who applied for second, or third, IDs. As we speak, we are sitting with 494 367 uncollected IDs in our various offices, and a further 266,785 at our head office.

"So, in total, we have more than 750 000 uncollected IDs and those are of people who applied for a second ID."

Dlamini-Zuma said a survey by her department had found that most of those who had not collected their IDs had applied for new ones when they had merely misplaced the original.

"Once they found their IDs, they did not return to our offices to collect the re-issued ones."

She called on people to act responsibly and value and protect their IDs, warning that re-issues "increase the possibility of duplicate IDs and identity theft by unscrupulous elements."

The department has recently increased fees for the reissuing of an identity document and temporary ID certificates from R20 to R140. A standard passport, previously priced at R190, will cost R400 - a move which sparked national outcry. 

Dlamini Zuma emphasised that the tariffs only cover the costs of producing the documents. 

She said the tariffs will not apply to those who apply for an identity document for the first time, and those who change their surnames when they get married. In the event of natural disasters, such as floods and fire leading to destruction of such documents as IDs, birth, marriage and death certificates, the documents will also be replaced free of charge. -BuaNews