ISSUE 03 | 2016
[In this issue, we present President Jacob Zuma’s speech at the launch of eHomeAffairs, in Midrand, on 7 April 2016]
eHomeAffairs, a step ahead in service delivery!
I am very happy to address you on this occasion, the official launch of a wonderful and innovative service that will further improve the way we deliver services to our people.
We are joined by our partners today as government, the country’s banking sector, to launch the wonderful project that will see people applying for identity documents at their banking institutions.
This is a very important development as we seek to build a state that is responsive to the needs of the people by providing better, faster and more secure services.
This service is one step further in the ongoing quest to make the services provided by the Department of Home Affairs more accessible to all our people.
Government is modernising the Department of Home Affairs and is also improving security.
This next step entails better use of technology in order to improve the lives of all citizens. Government cannot do this alone. That is why we are entering into a partnership with banks to extend access and to empower their clients.
We are happy indeed that the banks have teamed up with the Department of Home Affairs. This Department is central to the lives of our people and all others residing in our country.
Among other things, the department empowers individuals as it affirms their identity and citizenship, providing them with IDs, passports and other enabling documents.
People cannot apply for social grants, housing, medical care or even use some forms of transport without having to produce documentation issued by Home affairs.
The Department also facilitates immigration in and out of the country, ensuring uninterrupted, efficient flow of persons in and out of the Republic.
The Department is the first port of call for visitors who contribute to South Africa’s economic development through trade, investment, tourism, skills and research.
The Department determines how migrants come into our country, how they are treated in our country, and how South Africa’s humanitarian obligations are met, including those arising from the Geneva Convention and other United Nations’ conventions.
We therefore request the private sector to support Home Affairs as much as possible.
The Department is now part of the security cluster because we realise the need to improve the security aspects of migration.
The Department will thus work with others in the cluster to ensure that persons who enter the Republic are cleared and that all who remain inside can be accounted for. In doing this job the Department will need the cooperation of all citizens and all in the country.
We urge all to contribute to the promotion of legal migration, and to ensure that all in the country have the correct documentation. This will also ensure that they receive the necessary support from government agencies.
Compatriots, indeed today we are moving a step ahead in improving services to our people.
The introduction of the Smart ID Card in 2013, to replace the current green barcoded ID book, was a milestone.
The National Population Register has more than thirty eight million citizens who are in possession of a green ID book. All those books must be replaced within a period of five years.
Furthermore, there are one million additional 16 year olds every year that require smart ID cards.
A formidable challenge has been that the four hundred and seven Home Affairs offices are not designed for this capacity of covering over 38 million citizens within a five year period. These offices are insufficient to handle the replacement of the green ID book within specified timelines.
The main objective of the partnership with the banks is thus to broaden the centres at which people can apply for Smart ID Cards and passports. This collaboration was facilitated through the South African Banking Risk Information Centre and the Banking Association South Africa.
Accordingly, the department has entered into agreements with four major banks, to increase its service footprint. This should help greatly to increase the uptake of the Smart ID Card and the issuing of passports. The participating banks are ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank.
With the four banks participating, it is possible to reach over 20 million clients, with improved queue management and enhanced client experience. This also benefits the banks by reducing fraud through confirming the identity of clients.
We look forward to the involvement of other banks, as this will further accelerate the rollout to as many branches as possible effectively to cover all provinces thus to provide access to the historically under-serviced and marginalised areas of the country.
Reaching more clients extends further to support the electoral process.
It will ensure that more voters have IDs and are therefore empowered to register and exercise their democratic right to vote.
With regards to the roll-out of the Smart ID Card, initially we had prioritized senior citizens above 60 years of age and first time applicants 16 years and above.
This new Home Affairs service of applying at Banks for civic documents will initially cater for young people between the ages of 30 to 35 years.
Going forward, we intend to build the capacity to extend the system to other age categories.
We are working also on making our services more accessible to persons with disabilities and in particular those with visual difficulties.
We encourage Home Affairs to keep up the good work and to continue relentlessly to improve on its management of identity and immigration. Great strides have been made in this regard.
An important improvement in service delivery and security enhancement was the introduction of a full birth certificate, at no cost for first-time applicants, and issued on the spot.
Let me thank the banking sector for their participation and resources that they had availed in this regard. The department is engaged with the banks to find ways to expand the e-Home Affairs service to all their clients.
In expanding its footprint, Home Affairs has correctly identified the human element as being a critical factor in service delivery.
Consequently, it has launched the Moetapele or leadership initiative to train officials so that we can improve citizen care at Home Affairs. We want officials who deal directly with the public to be patient, caring and helpful.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me thank you all for supporting this innovation.
We also thank the private sector for proving that indeed government and business are working together more than ever in our country.
Together, we are moving South Africa forward!