eChannel coming to the Free State soon


The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, has announced that the eChannel Project will soon venture to other provinces.
The project was introduced in April this year, whereby a Smart ID and passport applications are processed at the bank, using biometric data. Gigaba explained that those who are between 25 and 40 years old, are eligible to the eChannel project that is currently implemented in the Gauteng Province.
It all starts with an online application through the Department of Home Affairs’ website. The eChannel project is part of the move to digitise services and is also aimed at curbing identity theft.
“Close to 20 000 South Africans have already received their ID and passports without setting foot at Home Affairs offices. They did it through their banks. Before the end of the year, we will be rolling that system out to all the provinces. We are now close to reaching an agreement to how many bank branches in all the provinces this project will apply. At some of the branches you will be able to walk in if you don’t have access to the internet, and complete your application there,” he said.
The project is to ensure that Smart ID and passport applications are made simpler, better and faster.
According to Gigaba, most of the children born this year, will not go to any Home Affairs facility to apply for their IDs when they turn 16 years old (in 2032). He said they will be able to do it on their computer in the comfort of their own home.
Gigaba added that they will be rolling out new mobile units at schools to serve 16-year-old pupils who will be applying for IDs for the first time and provide them with their documents there. The same mobile units are planned to be used at various farms across the country for farm workers who will need the services of Home Affairs.
“We are just trying to be smart by identifying different channels of service,” Gigaba said.
He further explained his department is short staffed and struggling. He explained that there are not enough facilities across the country and people are constantly needing the services of Home Affairs.
A Smart ID card will set you back R140, while passports cost R400.
“We are redeeming and re-imagining the department’s packaging by taking away the long queues, simplifying the application process of your documents to make it enjoyable,” said Gigaba. – Refilwe Gaeswe