Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says the department has been receiving a lot of positive feedback from citizens who have applied for their smart ID cards or passports using the newly launched eHome Affairs portal.
Speaking to journalists shortly after conducting a site visit at the Home Affairs kiosk at the Standard Bank Canal Walk Mall branch in Cape Town, on Wednesday, the Minister said clients have told him how happy they are with the system, which has been described as efficient and convenient by applicants, who have raved about the new system on social media.
“The feedback, both from the clients that came here this morning, as well as the clients that communicate with us via social networks, is that they are very excited about what they have been experiencing,” he said.
The Minister said this after President Jacob Zuma launched the eHome Affairs portal earlier this month.
Through a partnership with four banks – FNB, Standard Bank, ABSA and Nedbank – citizens can now apply for their identity documents online and make an EFT payment before visiting their nearest branch to have their photos and fingerprints taken.
The Minister said this new process has been very convenient for clients.
“It is an extremely convenient process for our clients… who are applying for documents, whether IDs or passports,” he said.
The Minister said the service, which is at pilot phase, will soon be rolled out to more branches once governance processes have been finalised. The pilot project is being run in Gauteng and limited branches in Cape Town. The service is initially only available to 30 – 35-year-olds.
Minister Gigaba said government is aiming to phase out green bar-coded identity documents to replace them with smart ID cards.
“We should be able to see this service being rolled out in greater measure in the coming few years. But in so far as the banks are concerned, there is going to be a massive roll-out which will assist us to meet the cut-off date to the complete phasing out of the green ID book and the complete replacement by the smart ID card,” said Minister Gigaba.
In 2013, government said the plan is to issue the smart ID card to all South Africans over eight years from 2013.
Neil Scott, a Century City resident who was at the bank to collect his smart ID card after applying for it a few days ago, said his online application process has been very convenient.
“It is very easy… [and] seamless,” said Scott.