Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba and President Jacob Zuma launched the department of home affairs’ electronic channel (e-Channel) project on Thursday.
Gigaba said the department collaborated with four major banks to introduce an online application platform for smart ID cards and passports. Banks that have partnered with the department include Nedbank, Absa, First National Bank and Standard Bank.
Gigaba said the programme was dedicated to 30- to 35-year-olds to start with.
He said 12 branches would pilot the project. Eleven were in Gauteng and one would be in Cape Town, Gigaba said.
“We will publish the list of these branches so that people know where they can go. The banks have availed to us their facilities and ensured that there is proper branding for our section within the branch at a space were this system will be operating,” he said.
Gigaba said applicants would be able to submit their fingerprints and pictures, having made appointments and payments online.
He had instructed the department to investigating extending the service to branches of the department.
“The critical thing for us is to ensure that those without access to Internet services can still be able to obtain qualitative services that respect their human rights. We are not trying to discriminate those without Internet services,” he said.
Gigaba said the e-Channel system would reduce queues at home affairs offices to enable those without access to Internet services to more easily find a convenient environment.
Zuma said the e-Channel project was an important development in building a state responsive to the needs of the people.
“This service is one step further in the ongoing quest to make the services provided by the department of home affairs more accessible to all our people,” Zuma said.