The Department of Home Affairs is conducting a feasibility study on opening dedicated branches inside shopping centres across the country.
In a presentation to parliament on Tuesday (22 February), the department said that it currently has 412 offices nationwide, but is dependent on the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to enter into lease agreements and for the construction of new offices.
“To determine its financial availability of establishing offices in malls, the department is in the process of gathering spatial information of all malls in the country, including geographic coordinates.
“This exercise will determine the malls which are optimal locations to cover the department’s population. Further analysis will determine the financial viability of the mall locations.”
The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is expected to enter into negotiations with mall owners under the Government Immovable Asset Management Act to help establish the new offices.
The National Treasury will also also be involved in the process to ensure that no malls are given preferential treatment and the correct processes are followed.
While the majority of Home Affairs offices are located in government buildings, the department does currently offer services through a number of select bank branches, with these set to expand in 2022.
Answering a November parliamentary Q&A session, minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the department’s partnership with banks is being piloted and operated at 25 bank branches.
“The intention is to increase the number of the sites to 70 once the Public-Private-Partnership Agreements are signed with the banks,” he said.
He added that the government plans to roll out these services on or around 1 July 2022, once the following issues have been resolved:
- The mechanism for the payment and collection of the convenience fee paid by clients using the facilities; and
- The connectivity relating to the system uptime and downtime to be in line with standard norms.
All of the country’s biggest banks – with the exception of Capitec – offer the E-Home Affairs service at a handful of their branches.