Home Affairs is testing a new booking system – here’s how it works

The Department of Home Affairs will pilot a new appointment system in 2022 in a bid to cut down on excessive queueing and corruption.

Briefing parliament on Tuesday (30 November), the department said that the appointment system has been finalised and will be deployed in selected offices in the current financial year. It initially plans to pilot the system in five high-volume offices, it said.

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.

The department has previously said that the new system will use 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 new system forms part of a wider push to improve service delivery at Home Affairs offices, including a plan to address ageing equipment and an unstable network which has led to infrastructure issues. The department also plans to improve internet speeds and system downtime through new technologies, it said.

In November, Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that it will also expand its partnership with banks to offer additional services at branches across the country in 2022.

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.

Home Affairs initially introduced its banking pilot to assist with the reduction of long queues at DHA offices, to expand the service platforms, and to allow citizens to apply for Smart ID cards and passports online.

Applicants are only required to visit the bank branch to complete biometric requirements, thereby reducing the time spent in the bank or Home Affairs office.

Read: South Africa could introduce vaccine passports in early 2022: report

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Home Affairs is testing a new booking system – here’s how it works