Home affairs goes paperless. Here’s how it will affect you

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Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Christopher Moagi
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Christopher Moagi

Need to register a birth, marriage or death? From next week, you won’t have to fill out any forms.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says the department will be moving to paperless applications for birth, marriage and death registrations, as well as the printing of parents’ details on their children’s passports.

“This is another way of ‘meeting the future’, by rising to opportunities created by technological advancements for maximising client satisfaction,” Gigaba said.

Addressing the media in Pretoria on Wednesday, Gigaba said the system upgrade was a part of ongoing enhancements of the live-capture system to improve service quality by modernising processes.

“Documents will now be saved electronically and be easily retrieved upon request, as opposed to the old paper-based legacy system,” he said.

The live-capture system upgrade is scheduled to start on Friday, July 13. On this day, modernised offices – which are offices that accept smart ID card applications – will be unable to receive applications for IDs and passports, from 2pm to enable system back-up.

However, offices will attend to people whose applications were already being processed.

During the implementation of this upgrade, services for smart ID cards and passports would not be available in the 184 modernised offices, including at the department’s eHomeAffairs partners in the banking sector, with the exception of large offices.

Former president Jacob Zuma shows off his smart card ID.

All other services would be available.

The system upgrade entails minimal interruptions in the provision of ID and passport services between July 13 (from 2pm) and July 20 (until 4pm), with provinces affected at different times and to different degrees.

During the system upgrade period, Gigaba advised clients needing ID and passport-related services to visit large offices in their provinces, as these will be fully operational. Large offices would have been attended to on Sunday, with no impact on services.

Work in the Gauteng province will also be carried out over the weekend of July 14 to 15, which means no office in Gauteng will experience disruption.

System upgrade phases

• Birth registration for children 0 to one year will be automated, meaning that clients will no longer complete paper forms for birth registration. This will be more convenient for clients, and will reduce opportunities for corruption and fraud.

• Marriages and deaths: This entails reprints of marriages and death certificates for clients that are already registered in the national population register (without filling paper forms).

• Printing of parents’ details in passports: Once Home Affairs has completed the upgrade and fully implemented in identified offices, the details of parents will be printed in the children’s passports. In this way, the department will have delivered also on the earlier Cabinet concession of easing travel with children.

Schedule of Implementation for July 16 to 20

Monday to Tuesday:

Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and participating banks.

Wednesday to Thursday:

Limpopo, North West and Eastern Cape.

Friday:

Mpumalanga, Free State & Northern Cape.

Meanwhile, Gigaba on Wednesday assured the department’s clients that services at the building hosting the identification system in Tshwane will be restored by the end of business today.

Home Affairs on Tuesday experienced a live-capture system downtime due to an interruption of power supply.

Services affected are those relating to the application for and collection of smart ID cards and passports.

Technicians are on site diagnosing the problem, after which the extent of the problem will be established, as well as when the system is likely to be fully restored.

Meanwhile, the department has switched over to its disaster recovery site, which should allow services to resume. Once the main site has been restored, the department will then return to the main site. – SAnews.gov.za

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