Pilot project to help reduce wait times at Home Affairs

A typical queue outside the Home Affairs offices in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg.

A typical queue outside the Home Affairs offices in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg. Ian Carbutt

A pilot project aimed at reducing wait times in long queues at Department of Home Affairs (DHA) offices is currently being flighted in Ndwedwe and Tongaat, on the KZN North Coast.

The project allows for people, currently only at the branches that are part of the pilot, to book online appointments.

The DHA said:

“It also includes 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 down time through new technologies.”

The DHA has been a source of much anxiety for KZN residents, especially in areas such as Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

The Witness has previously reported that at several offices people are being charged large amounts of money by vagrants, “entrepreneurs” and those posing as department officials to hold places in the queue and even jump the line.

The DHA said the piloted project will prevent the illegal blocking of slots by those intent on selling them to those queueing.

System tested at high-volume branches

The system is being trialled at high-volume branches, which is why Tongaat and Ndwedwe were selected in KZN. The six other branches across the country include Cape Town, Bellville, Paarl and Wynberg in the Western Cape and Pretoria or Akasia in Gauteng.

The DHA previously said the system would be made available through a mobile application, however, a version of the system is currently only accessible through its website.

To book an appointment a person needs to visit the website and enter their SA identity number, full name and surname and cellphone number. There is also an option to add an email address.

The details will then be confirmed and verified through the internal population register and the applicant will then be given the option to select the branch they wish to visit and the service they want to access such as applications or collection of documents.

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