The Department of Home Affairs has announced a new appointment system in a bid to cut down on excessive queueing and corruption.
Presenting to parliament on Tuesday (31 August), the department said that the appointment system has been finalised and will be deployed in selected offices in the current financial year.
The system is integrated with the national population register to allow clients to use their ID number to book a slot. This will prevent agents illegally operating in home affairs offices from blocking slots to sell them on, it said.
A brief presentation of the new system shows a mobile app that will allow South Africans to enter their user details and schedule appointments.
This includes options to book an appointment at a specific home affairs office in each province, as well as an expected start and end time.
Users are also expected to fill out a declaration regarding their health and Covid-19 status for health and safety regulations.
The opposition Democratic Alliance has welcomed the new system, which it says will help address the long queues currently seen at home affairs offices.
“The DA has been calling on the department to introduce such a system as we believe that it will address the long queues and protect people from losing a whole day of work to attend to this admin.
“It will also protect members of communities from potential corruption – the DA has received complaints that at some home affairs offices, people are forced to pay R100 per time slot or to skip the queue.”
The DA said it has been advised that the new appointment system will be available in all South African languages and can be accessed virtually. Walk-ins will still be accommodated, it said.
“This is certainly a step in the right direction of addressing the frustration people have with the Department of Home Affairs, and the DA will monitor the implementation of the appointment system closely.”