Although the Department of Home Affairs’ Smart ID card project currently only allows for the application of identification documents, if the system is successful, it could allow South African citizens to apply for their passports in the same way.
The Department of Home Affairs Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete says that while the department’s new Smart ID card pilot project does not allow for the application process of passports as yet, that is the end goal.
If successful, the pilot Smart Card ID project which runs from May to July 2015, could then be rolled out to include a simpler more efficient application process for passports.
The innovative system will only be for Smart Card ID applications. Dubbed eChannel, it will allow citizens to apply for their ID cards at their nearest bank, SAnews.gov.za reports.
While the government news source mentioned that citizens will also be able to apply for passports using the system, Tshwete told Traveller24 that it was too soon to say if and when the process would be extended to include passport applications since this is what the outcome of the pilot project would determine.
Mpho Moloi, the department’s Chief Director for channel management, said eChannel will help deal with long queues as customers have the opportunity to submit an online application and enter their personal details digitally via eChannel, before walking into a bank, post office or Home Affairs office to complete their applications.
So far FNB and Standard Bank have signed agreements to provide sites where the pilots will be rolled out. The pilot project will be assessed in August to see if the system works and relevant changes will be made.
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