The minister in charge of the department of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said his department has over 35,000 applications for Smart IDs and passports since the eHome portal was launched. The Minister said the system was now open to citizens of all ages to apply and that 50% of the applications submitted has been finalized to date.
“As at 23 August 2016, a total of 35,751 applications have been submitted through the system, of which 50% has been finalized to date. Online applications are making a huge difference in the time spent in queues.”
“In April, in the first month following the launch, we were at 4 ,088 online applications,” he said, adding that his department would continue to embrace the digitization of public services to improve the service quality and standards of South Africans.
eHomeAffairs portal was launched on 7 April 2016 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand as part of Home Affairs migration from paper to digital services. Through the portal, citizens could easily download and fill in the e-application form, make an electronic payment and book an appointment to complete the application process at their nearest participating bank instead of visiting the department.
During its launch the department invited citizens between the ages of 30 and 35 to apply for their Smart ID Cards and passports. Now, the Minister said all citizens older than 16 years could access and apply for identity documents using the portal. He said: “As from today, the system is now open to all citizens who bank with the four banks – ABSA, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank. “Currently, 12 branches of these banks are connected to the system in Gauteng, to issue the smart IDs with one branch in Canal Walk (Standard Bank) in Cape Town.”
According to the minister also, SA government is at its best in concluding a public-private partnership that would see the system being offered at selected banks in Gauteng and the Western Cape, being rolled out to more provinces.
“While most of these branches are centralised in Gauteng, plans are apace to enter into a public-private partnership with participating banks, hopefully to be finalised in October this year, to increase our footprint in the provinces, thus allowing for more South Africans to access the online service.”