Gigaba launches 'war on queues' at home affairs

Malusi Gigaba has been retained in the Cabinet, following a reshuffle. (Themba Hadebe, AP, file)
Malusi Gigaba has been retained in the Cabinet, following a reshuffle. (Themba Hadebe, AP, file)

Some of the first short-term actions to reduce the length of time waiting in queues at Home Affairs are scheduled to roll-out from Monday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has announced.

"I have called for implementation of actions in the short-term, some of which the department is carrying-out already," Gigaba said in a statement on Sunday.

He said that offices had also been divided into green, yellow and red status according to their current performance.

As such, "performance ratings and performance management interventions" would be rolled out at all red offices.

COLUMN: Open letter to Malusi Gigaba: Home Affairs is a national nightmare

Further interventions to be implemented include the piloting of a one-stop workstation that would take fingerprints and photographs.

"Among other things, informed by the action plans the department is finalising, we will commission a customer satisfaction survey, get the client contact centre working optimally, find a solution for unpredictable walk-in clients and for front office space, explore possibilities of a new shift system, attend to the unstable system, scale-up unannounced visits by senior managers to offices, improve workflow and beef-up communication with clients."

Mobile units

Gigaba said that the department was also hoping to roll out its "e-homeaffairs" service across ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank across the country over the next year.

Data would be gathered on which areas were underserved as well, he said.

The department would also investigate how offices in Orlando West, Wynberg in Alexandra, Pietermaritzburg, Centurion, East London and Umgeni offices had already managed to reduce waiting time.

The department's 78 mobile units were being refurbished and would be back in working use in the second half of the year - and there was a plan for how these would be deployed across provinces.

Gigaba said that he had received an assessment report on the situation on Friday.

He said that the report indicated that some of the causes of long waiting time were high client volumes, the possible discontinuation of Saturday working hours, management issues, the ineffective utilisation of staff, problems with front office space, poor signage and the lack of an appointment system.

The concurrent running of manual and automated systems was also problematic; as was misinformation on the discontinuation of green barcoded IDs.

Gigaba said interventions would be carried out on a short, medium and long term basis.

"These would not be quick fix interventions and thus [we] plead for your patience while we implement these measures," said Gigaba.

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