New Home Affairs office for Somerset West

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says the newly opened Home Affairs office in Somerset West in the Western Cape will go a long way to improve frontline services for customers.

The Minister on Thursday officially opened the new office which forms part of the department’s Moetapele Initiative aimed at creating a fully digitised, paperless Home Affairs environment, among other things.

The office has been branded with colour-coding which will assist clients in finding which queue they need to join, ensuring no one wastes time standing in the wrong queue.

“The importance of this office is that it is bigger, there is a colour coding in terms of the services.

“There are floor walkers here who are dedicated to direct people accordingly as you enter the office. The signage is very clear. The services and the cost of the services are listed at the door so you know as you come in how much the service will cost you.

“The Home Affairs officials who are here are clearly identifiable with their uniform, which is orange ties or orange scarfs for ladies and darks suits for all of them … that makes the office much more pleasant, much more professional with name tags on their chairs so that you know who is … providing you with the service.

“The most important thing for me about the Home Affairs office is the culture of Batho Pele, the culture of professionalism because for us the client must come first,” said the Minister.

He said the new office was also the third pilot site which has a card swiping system installed - a point of sale system where you can pay for the services using your credit or debit card.

“[This] makes it efficient for many of the clients who come here who prefer not to bring cash or those with no cash on them,” said Minister Gigaba.

The card payment system has already been piloted in Johannesburg and Pretoria and the system will go a long way in improving front line services.

The Minister said the system will be rolled out to all Smart ID Card offices by March 2016.

The system has been aligned with all the other agencies, such as the banks, the South African Reserve Bank, the South African Revenue Service and other systems.

“[The system] can be audited by the Auditor General easily and so this is one of the things that we are doing at this office that makes the office quite a convenient and pleasant place for any client to come into,” he said.

Minister Gigaba said the Moetapele Initiative seeks to develop frontline office expertise in each of the products that are offered to clients and to provide a professional environment so clients to feel confident with the services they are receiving.

Meanwhile, over 2 000 Smart ID Cards have been issued to citizens since the department partnered with various banks to pilot the application of the cards at bank branches.

The department will soon pilot a system where citizens can apply for Smart ID Cards using their mobile devices. They will then only need to go into a bank to have their photographs and fingerprints captured. –