Department Of Home Affairs Echannel
Department Of Home Affairs Echannel, Home Affairs’ e-channel pilot project was launched at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on 7 April by President Jacob Zuma, with the department’s minister, Malusi Gigaba.
The e-channel is a web portal whereby users can pay and book an appointment online in order to apply for a smart ID card and a South African passport. The user will then book an appointment at one of the four major banks including Absa, FNB, Standard Bank and Nedbank in order to submit their fingerprints and pictures. The banks have collaborated with the department and will provide a kiosk at selected branches where a user can submit these.
Gigaba said this initiative is aimed at making interactions with the department more convenient and efficient for their customers.
The service will initially only be available for a selected age group. “The 30- to 35-year-olds are about four million – [and] with only 12 branches running, this cohort gives us the opportunity to start with the programme and see the dysfunctions,” Gigaba said.
The department does not know how long this will remain the case. “We are still in discussion with the banks,” said Gigaba. He also said the 12 branches would be announced in due course.
“There [will be] one in Cape Town and 11 in Johannesburg,” he said.
With the introduction of the digitisation of home affairs’ functions, Gigaba gave the assurance that jobs were safe, “We will use our current employees to serve different functions that will aid digitisation.”
Zuma, while addressing attendees at the event, said he was impressed by the portal and the fact that it was aided by the private sector. “This proves that South Africa is a solutions orientated country,” said Zuma.
Chief executive officer of Absa, Craig Bond, said the private sector’s partnership with government was important because it opened up opportunities. “ID cards are at the core of financial inclusion,” said Bond.