Banks are beating Home Affairs at its own game in South Africa

 ·15 Apr 2024

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has revealed that the banks offering smart ID and passport services experienced significantly less downtime due to system-related and load-shedding than the traditional Home Affairs offices.

This was revealed in a recent parliamentary Q&A session, in which the minister of Home Affairs was asked for the total hours lost at Home Affairs offices in each province due to load shedding and system downtime in the past five years.

In response, the minister noted that in 2023 (up to December), the department suffered a total of 39,237 hours lost due to system downtime (25,644 hours) or load shedding (13,593 hours).

However, the minister’s data shows that of the 39,237 lost operating hours, only 1,241 were experienced at the bank branches due to system issues, while no bank branch experienced lost operating hours due to load shedding.

In contrast, the lion’s share of 27,996 was experienced by Home Affairs offices across the country.

The Eastern Cape (EC) experienced the longest system-related downtime (4,935 hours), followed by Gauteng (4,678) and Mpumalanga (4,024).

In terms of load shedding, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) experienced the longest downtime (3,200 hours), followed by Limpopo (2,697) and Gauteng (2,139).

Overall, The EC experienced the most downtime due to system-related issues or load shedding (7,074 hours), followed by KZN (6,400) and Gauteng (5,362).

ProvinceHours lost (System-related)Hours lost (load shedding)Total
Eastern Cape4 9352 1397 074
KwaZulu Natal3 2003 2006 400
Gauteng4 6786845 362
Limpopo2 2752 6974 972
Mpumalanga4 0245304 554
North West2 2561 6843 940
Northern Cape1 0031 5432 546
Westerm Cape8188871 705
Free State1 2142291 443
GP Banks9550995
MP Banks1190119
KZN Banks88088
LP Banks31031
WC Banks24024
EC Banks18018
NC Banks606
Total:25 64413 59339 237


The department’s annual performance plan for 2024/25 highlights the success of its efforts to modernise and enhance the efficiency of Home Affairs offices throughout the country.

Introducing live capture terminals at these offices is a crucial component of this initiative.

Live capture is an automated system that replaces the traditional manual approach by enabling secure and efficient enrollment and application capture in front offices.

The DHA first implemented live capture functionality for passport and smart identity card applications in 2013.

The system has since been rolled out to 202 offices and 30 bank branches that offer home affairs services across the country.

According to the DHA, it issued 2.6 million smart ID cards against a target of 2.2 million in the 2022/23 financial year, bringing the number of smart ID cards issued to more than 21 million since inception in 2013.

“The DHA is on track to achieve the 2023/24 annual target of 2.5 million, with more than 2 million smart cards issued between April and December 2023,” it said.

More recently, the Minister of Home Affairs, Aron Motsoaledi, officially opened a new Home Affairs office at the Cresta Shopping Centre in Randburg on 11 April as part of concerted efforts to improve clients’ access to services.

The opening of Cresta Shopping Centre Home Affairs follows the launch of an office at Menlyn Shopping Centre in Pretoria East in March 2023.

Read: South Africa bleeds over R1 trillion in foreign investment

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