Big changes coming to Home Affairs offices – including no more “system offline” excuses

The Department of Home Affairs is working on a number of solutions to cut down on the queues seen at its offices around the country.

This is according to the minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, who was responding in a recent parliamentary Q&A session.

Motsoaledi said that some of the strategies that will be implemented include:

  • Continuing to increase Home Affair’s footprint through e-channels and mobile offices;
  • The roll-out of additional modernised offices to ultimately phase out the manual process – including new kiosk counters;
  • The possible introduction of booking systems at local offices;
  • Re-opening negotiations with organised labour as well as DPSA to allow the department to work on Saturdays through the introduction of a shift system;
  • Engaging with SITA and other role-players to continue with the stabilisation of the IT system.
  • The department will improve system functionality through the introduction of an “offline” mode facility which will continue rendering services to clients even if the system is offline;
  • Prioritising the filling of critical positions, even though the department has not been in a position to fill vacant posts due to budget cuts.

Modernisation

Motsoaledi said that his department is ‘on a journey’ to modernise all of its backend legacy systems and automate all front-end processes to issue vital documents.

“To date, the department has automated front-end processes of issuing IDs, Passports, Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates,” he said.

“The system development programme is ongoing and backend legacy systems are still to be completed to ensure full integration rather than the current multiple interfaces which are not ideal and causes intermittent downtimes.”

Motsoaledi said that the network infrastructure in which all the DHA systems run on is provided for by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and is often a cause of system downtime.

“A comprehensive assessment was done by SITA in the last financial year and produced a new network architecture and implementation plan which will provide a fully redundant and high availability network throughout the DHA footprint,” he said.


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Big changes coming to Home Affairs offices – including no more “system offline” excuses