Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, on Monday officially opened the new Home Affairs office at the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria.
This, according to the department, is in fulfillment of a commitment to making Home Affairs services more accessible to people.
Speaking at the launch, Motsoaledi said more offices are set to be opened at malls, including at Cresta Mall in Johannesburg, the Pavillion in eThekwini,
and Tygervalley in Cape Town; in the hope of being functional before the end of the next financial year.
“We want to ensure that we bring services to the people. We want people to access services were they are with ease,” Motsoaledi said.
Motsoaledi said they have reached an agreement with the centre management that his department will not pay for rental for the next five years.
The Minister said people will come to the mall and do their shopping and again also apply for their documents.
“We want people to have a good experience when they visit Home Affairs offices. Our plan is that we don’t want people to queue when they visit Home Affairs offices in the malls.
“It is a beneficial situation for all,” he said, adding that the Home Affairs Menlyn office is expected to take off pressure from high-volume offices around Tshwane and
this includes at Byron’s Place in the city center, Mamelodi, and Centurion.
“Our ambition is to find innovative solutions. We wanted to pilot and make sure that the system works very well,” Motsoaledi said.
In his Budget Vote Speech, Motsoaledi announced that his department wants to create multiple platforms to assist people with applications for their IDs, Passports and other essential documents.
At today's launch, the department showcased its new mobile offices - fully kitted with all the equipment needed to ensure the processing of IDs and Passports.
The new Menlyn offices began servicing clients today, who have the convenience of applying for their documents and visiting the center at the same time to do their shopping. One can quickly pop into the Home Affairs Office, get a ticket number, and even go grab a coffee until its your ticket call.
Home Affairs Menlyn Office is expected to take off the pressure from high-volume offices around Tshwane, such as Byron’s Place in the city center, Mamelodi and Centurion.
After the launch, Motsoaledi conducted a walkabout at the new office - interacting with the staff and clients. He gave the initiative a thumbs-up saying it is a good initiative to have the office at the mall.
SAnews spoke to Cornelius Tawana who came to apply for his Smart ID at the new office.
“I am happy at the department’s initiative to have the office here at the mall because from here I am going to do my shopping without having to spend money on transport,” he said.
Tawana said more offices should be opened in other malls.
According to Motsoaledi, the Department of Home Affairs signed a mutually beneficial partnership with the owners of the Menlyn Park Shopping Centre.
In 2015, the Department of Home Affairs officially launched a pilot project which saw two major banks, First National Bank and Standard Bank, issuing smart ID cards.
Since then, more banks joined in to assist people to apply for their IDs.
Source: South African Government News Agency