Transcript copy: briefing by Deputy-Director General Avril Williamson Department of Home Affairs, Arcadia House, Arcadia, Pretoria
23 Jun 2011
Comments by Deputy Director-General Ronnie Mamoepa
Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma today Thursday, 23 June 2011 joins the multitudes of our people across the country in the expression of grief and sorrow on the passing away of former Minister of Education and Water Affairs, Professor Kader Asmal.
“The death of Professor Kader Asmal has indeed left the ranks of the liberation movement, and indeed the rest of the country much poorer. As a nation we grew accustomed to Professor Asmal, an erudite scholar, engage in fierce debates about critical issues affecting our country.
“Yet we knew that Professor Asmal was no armchair critic but a true patriot who spent his life in the just struggle for peace, freedom and democracy. He contributed immensely to the development of our constitutional model hailed as among the best in the world.
“Those of us who have had the privilige of serving with Professor Asmal in various capacities both in the government and structures of the ruling party both at home and abroad including would attest to his burning desire and commitment to the betterment of the lives of all our people, irrespective of race, colour, gender of religious beliefs.
“The tears of the nation have hardly dried following the passing away of that stalwart of our people MaSisulu, than we are confronted with this massive blow to our body politic. However, we know too well that Professor Asmal would have drawn solace from the knowledge that South Africa has the capacity to reproduce leaders of the calibre required to continue to build a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society without fear or favour
“In his memory and as a nation we owe it to Professor Asmal to continue to serve our people, unflinchingly and without seeking financial or material reward in the cause of deepening our democracy while remaining true to the values that he espoused throughout his life in the struggle for a better South Africa.
“It is our hope that the thoughts and prayers of the nation will indeed during this hour of grief reach out to his wife Louise, the two children, grandchildren and members of his broader family, fully cognisant that their pain, sorrow and bereavement is shared by millions of people in the country, the region and beyond.
“On behalf of the department of Home Affairs and indeed on my own behalf, we join the nation in extending our heartfelt condolences to the entire Asmal family,” concluded Minister Dlamini Zuma.
Comments by Deputy Director-General Avril Williamson
Our weekly media briefing today will be focusing on the implementation of the Department’s Turnaround Strategy.
In 2007 the department undertook a process of improving service delivery in terms of its key focus areas in general and IDs in particular. The process was a collaborative one, undertaken in conjunction, with the Department of Public Service and Administration.
Drawing on management approaches commonly used in production industries, we introduced an Operations Management approach which was supported with the appropriate tools, including inter alia, a governance model and on-the-job training to ensure the approach became integrated with the culture of the organisation
Challenges that needed to be addressed:
In June 2007, it took an average of 127 days to get an identity document (ID), with some customers waiting as long as 250 days. This resulted in the following:
- Many customers were applying multiple times at different offices
- Temporary IDs had to be renewed many times
- 40% of customers at front offices were enquiring about the progress with their IDs
- Long queues, frustrated customers, complaints and bad publicity
- There was no mechanism to track and monitor status or progress with applications and the backlogs of applications throughout the Central Production Facility was standing at more than 236 000
Elements of the Turnaround Strategy
- A major focus of the Turnaround Programme was on ID related processes and customer interactions; both at the front of the value chain (more than 242 Home Affairs offices around the country) as well as the back end (central Identity Document processing facility)
- The prioritising of IDs was based on the importance of IDs for citizens and the need to make a serious impact to give the public and staff confidence in the Department and the change programme. It would also be a model for other key business processes
- ID book production process was analysed and a new end-to-end process was designed, reducing the production steps from 80 to 15
Examples of improvements and tools introduced are:
- A track and trace system: required staff to scan IDs in and out of each stage of the process, allowing the turnaround team to understand how much time an ID spent in a given section and to locate slow areas
- New finger-print scanning machines: resulting in the turnaround time in the Fingerprint Verification Section being reduced from 27 days to 4 days and clearing of 236 000 backlogged records
- A single courier service was put in place, with a strong service level agreement (SLA), to pick up ID applications and drop off completed ID books at front offices
- The introduction of the Online Verification of Fingerprints enabled the immediate issuance of Temporary Identity Certificates
- Officials were organised into small cells/teams instead of long assembly lines in the Completion Section
- Workstations were demarcated and colour coded with clearly defined areas for incoming and outgoing work
- A front office checklist was developed to ensure that application information is correct and complete; and implementation teams trained
- Individual and group performance targets were negotiated with staff - targets were realistic and achievable
- Visible and daily monitoring based on actual performance data was introduced
- Weekly quality reports are produced and distributed to all offices and monitored, including exceptions reporting and monitoring
- Regular operations review meetings are held at all levels to monitor output and quality
We are pleased to present a summary of the key service delivery achievements as a result of the turnaround strategy:
- Reduced turnaround times for IDs from an average of 127 days to less than 45 days
- By end of 2008, 93% of customers polled said waiting times for IDs were faster than expected and 92% said they were impressed with the new SMS notification
- An efficient Customer Contact Centre answering 95% of calls in 20 seconds and resolving 90% of calls on first contact
- End-to–end Track and Trace system functionality allowing for the tracking of applications throughout the production process as well as sending of SMS alerts to customers
- Extension of Track and Trace to cover other documents including passports, birth, marriage, death, citizenship and late registration of birth
- The Department now has an in-house capacity to roll-out this approach to other areas of service delivery such as permits
Questions and answers
Question: DDG, on the streamlining of this process, has this had an impact on the staff complement?How did the Unions respond to this matter?
Answer: Prior to the introduction of the process, the unions were engaged so they could understand what was required to have an improvement in turnaround times in the department.
What I would also like to add is that in general, the department is not operating on a full complement of human resources. Therefore we still have intentions of growing our staff complement to meet the needs of our clients.
However, specifically within the ID processing centre, it did have an impact on staff and we had to look at the options of re-skilling and then redeploying staff to other areas in the business.
Question: DDG, on the issue of the delay in issuing IDs – can this attributed to the numbers of uncollected IDs – on page 1 you indicated that clients had applied multiple times at different offices – so were the clients not the only party to be blamed? After this success story, you want to roll out this issue to the permits – how big is the problem on the issuance of permits?
Answer: On the issue of the delays in IDs and uncollected IDs, yes we do have a programme that is in place to look at uncollected IDs.We have a team of people looking into this, especially at our provincial offices.And we still have high numbers of uncollected IDs – when we last counted, the number stood at approximately 400 000. This still presents a challenge to the department especially since people are applying for re-issues of their IDs but also temporary IDs because they might have left their IDs at home rather than really lost their documents.
The challenges identified related to those before we implemented the turnaround strategy where we were sitting at a turnaround time of 127 per ID.We are now issuing IDs within 45 days and sometimes sooner than this.If you look at this challenge related to the uncollection of IDs, it still does relate mainly to the public and we continue to appeal to the public to come forward and collect their IDs.
Question: DDG, did the increased tariffs have anything to do with these improvements?
Answer: On the issue of the increase in tariffs and how this links to the citizens and how they are adapting to the increased tariffs – since the elections on 18 May 2011 we have had far fewer queries regarding the increased tariffs. We are hoping that the increase would also assist our citizens generally in terms of their behaviour to ensure their recognition that their IDs are important documents and must be kept safe. We do not have any further information regarding citizens feelings about the increase in ID tariffs.
Question: DDG, do we have a timeframe of the roll out to the production of permits?
Answer: With regard to taking this production process and operations model to other areas of the business, we have indeed looked at taking it across, more particularly at offices we have identified as being amongst our worst performing offices. And yes we are looking at taking it across to the permitting functions.We have already begun with these processes. We must ensure however that we have the right resources in place. We must however still finalise the timeframes.
Question: DDG, isn’t there a way of monitoring a client’s application especially if one is already pending at another office?
Answer: On whether we can monitor whether people have submitted multiple applications at multiple offices – at the moment, from a perspective of integration, our systems are not as integrated as we would like them to be.We will be working on this into the future.
However, what we have done for this year is to introduce new identity application forms where we are at least reducing error rates and ensuring applications are referred to a central hub. But we still have to work on the systems going forward.
Question: DDG, what is the status of the new ID smart cards?Will these processes help to make this process easier?
Answer: (Deputy Director-General Williamson) For now we will still be issuing the current form of IDs. The new smart card has an implication for the processes going forward. So we will be able to work on this once we have scoped the entire project. It should be implemented in 2012/13 going forward.
(Deputy Director-General Ronnie Mamoepa) We have piloted this product through Government Printing Works and have produced an ID smart card for pilots and crew members. This is a precursor to the production of a smart card.
(Deputy Director General Avril Williamson) We are well aware of the required technology but we need to decide on whether we would want to include a chip or not and how the card will look.
Question: DDG, you refer to a poll – how many people were interviewed in this poll?
Answer: On the question of the survey and the number of people who were interviewed, in conducting surveys one usually looks at the norm of between 20-25% to ascertain a good survey result so in essence, what the Department did was to look at its own citizen base with a view to attracting 20% of the clients who visited our offices.
Question: DDG, you said you were not operating on a full HR capacity – how many additional staff will be employed?
Answer: Regarding the number of additional staff that will be required – indeed we are looking at this and have looked into this process in our strategic plan from 2010-2014.
Question: DDG, you mentioned your worst performing offices – I’m not sure if you are aware of the term that has been allocated to the Department – Horror Affairs. Is this one of the reasons it has been called the Department of Horror Affairs?
Answer: Regarding the comments on Horror Affairs, I think this has been addressed by Mr Mamoepa. And in terms of the worst performing offices, indeed we did have this category of office. We have, in our programme of action attempted to address this. And we have now begun to implement the operations management model to turn these offices around so I’m not sure you will find any of these offices any longer.
Question: DDG, in terms of the time frame for the issuance of temporary permits for foreigners – how long does it take?
Answer: (Deputy Director-General Mamoepa) The turnaround time is 30 working days. But section 22 permits are issued immediately that a foreigner enters the country that enables them to remain in the country legally. We have also introduced systems to speedily address this issue.
Question: DDG, are you investigating the internal link following the arrests in Yeoville earlier this week?
Answer: (Deputy Director-General Ronnie Mamoepa) On the issue of Yeoville, you would agree that we must condemn such activities in society. Also, these activities are beyond our control since these were not our employees who were printing such documents. These are fraudsters who are breaking the law and accordingly, must face the full might of the law. This can only be done effectively with the support of the communities since they are aware of such activities. We therefore call on members of the community to come forward with information when they have it so we can act.
We were talking to our anti-corruption unit yesterday and they are currently investigating this matter with the relevant law enforcement authorities so this matter can be concluded as soon as possible.
The arrest of this person sends a positive message to all of society that government will not allow such illicit acts to be proliferated in our country.
We are of course investigating the internal link because some internal materials were found there and we must look at how these came to be there. Therefore those who conspired in this matter will be brought to book.
Question: DDG, on the issue of the documentation of Zimbabwean nationals – it seems that the Department has missed the deadline on this matter?
Answer: (Deputy Director General Ronnie Mamoepa) We concluded the process of receiving applications in December 2010. We are currently adjudicating the applications received. If you recall, the Minister has committed to serving as an appeals authority once all applications have been process, especially those applications that have been denied. And where she finds this unfair, she will reverse these decisions. We expect that this process will be concluded by the end of July 2011, and with everything remaining the same, especially with the support of the Zimbabwean government, we will meet the timeframes and deadlines.
Issued by: Department of Home Affairs
23 Jun 2011
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