South Africans now able to apply for passports IDs at banks

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South Africans now able to apply for passports IDs at banks

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Apply-for-passports-IDs-at-banksThe Department of Home Affairs on Thursday launched its E-channel pilot project‚ which allows South Africans to apply for Smart ID cards and passports at financial institutions.

Partnering with the country’s four major banks – ABSA‚ FNB‚ Nedbank and Standard Bank – the department is trying to revolutionise the services and also make it more accessible to South African citizens.

Speaking at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand‚ Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said this pilot project would change the perception of the department being a menial service provider.

“We are announcing our programme of taking our modernisation of the department forward. We are utilising the advantages of technology of what our country has to offer and exploiting the skills of our young people so that we can be able to provide our people a service that is convenient to them and not to us.”

The online process will take two weeks from application to collection and is currently accepting applications from SA citizens between the ages of 30 and 35. The department said there were only 12 branches in the country’s 408 sites‚ but would expand the services to other parts of the country. Currently‚ 11 services were being provided in Gauteng and only one branch in Cape Town as part of the rollout.

President Jacob Zuma – who officially launched the project on Thursday – called on other stakeholders to come on board to ensure that this project functioned thoroughly and that the safety of those residing in the country was regarded.

“We therefore request the private sector to support Home Affairs as much as possible. The Department is now part of the security cluster because we realise the need to improve the security aspects of migration. The Department will thus work with others in the cluster to ensure that persons who enter the Republic are cleared and that all who remain inside can be accounted for‚” said Zuma.

He said the next step entailed better use of technology in order to improve the lives of all citizens‚ but government could not do this alone.

“That is why we are entering into a partnership with banks to extend access and to empower their clients.”

Zuma acknowledged the department’s main challenge to distributing the new smart ID cards was the limited number of Home Affairs offices.

“We have 407 Home Affairs offices that are not designed for this capacity. The main objective is to broaden the centres at which people can apply for smart ID cards and passports‚” said Zuma.

The banks will provide kiosks inside their branches where clients will be able to walk into and submit their fingerprints and pictures‚ having made appointments and payments online.

Gigaba said this would also assist with the voter registration process which was set to take place again this weekend.

The project – the department says –is the first in the world and was initially piloted at the Standard Bank and FNB headquarters in the Joburg city centre in August and July respectively.

According to department spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete‚ the extension of the invitation to come on board with the department was communicated to all banks of the country through the Banking Association of South Africa and only those who were interested were welcomed.

Source: TMG Digital/ TMG Local Government team

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