Home Affairs plans to launch branches in five shopping malls

The Department of Home Affairs wants to open branches in shopping malls across South Africa and will spend over R200 million to expand its workforce to help reduce queuing at its offices.

Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed this during his department’s budget vote speech on Tuesday, 24 May 2022.

He also reported that their recently-piloted branch appointment booking system is live in 25 offices, in tandem with walk-in services.

Home Affairs is exploring partnerships with other institutions to extend the accessibility of its services, said Motsoaledi.

“We are exploring partnerships with more institutions and are in discussions with the South African Post Office to extend accessibility of our services,” Motsoaledi said.

“We are also exploring opening offices in the major shopping centres in which we envisage a positive uptake, with five of the malls having offered rent-free space for five years.”

“Operating Home Affairs offices at malls will obviate the problem of queuing in the sun or rain. Malls will also provide convenient and safe parking for clients,” he added.

Motsoaledi said the department would start with five malls, three of which are in Gauteng, one is in KwaZulu-Natal, and one in Cape Town. They are:

  • Menlyn Mall in Pretoria
  • Cresta Mall in Johannesburg
  • Southgate Mall in Johannesburg
  • The Pavilion in eThekwini
  • Tygervalley Mall in Cape Town
Aaron Motsoaledi, South African Minister of Home Affairs

“Since the malls still have to move some tenants around to make way for Home Affairs, we will install our equipment there around September this year. We shall start with the Menlyn Mall in Pretoria and then roll out to the rest,” he said.

When it comes to staffing at Home Affairs offices, Motsoaledi said the department had complained at length that its front offices are only 39% staffed, contributing to long queues.

He said the decline in staffing began when National Treasury set a limit on the budget for employee compensation.

“Hence, when people left the department by natural attrition, they were not replaced. Furthermore, population growth was not catered for,” Motsoaledi said.

“Added to this, is a painful loss of more than 40 front office staff due to Covid-19.”

Motsoaledi said the reallocation of departmental budgets to help health facilities fight Covid-19 had also impacted his department.

“We have been awarded R266 million, which will help push our staffing level to at least 42% by hiring an additional 764 employees,” Motsoaledi said.

“517 of these employees will be front office staff, and 288 will be new immigration officers.”

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Home Affairs plans to launch branches in five shopping malls