HA, HA, Home Affairs

So the Department of Home Affairs (HA) has a new scapegoat (sorry, Director-general)? I read Chris Barron’s interview with Mavusa Msimang (Sunday Times, May 27, 2007), with interest and he certainly comes across as a most likeable chap. Good luck to him. His approach seems to be spot on. Get the very best people for the job, regardless of colour and Political affiliations, pay them well, and give them the freedom to make things happen.

I sat waiting for his phone call throughout Monday and Tuesday. I scoured the comments on my blog. Man I even ran up to the Post Office, just in case he had sent me a telegram (remember them?) Nothing !!

Anyway, set out below an overview of my business plan for Home Affairs, just in case someone steals all of my ideas, and takes the credit.

Aesthetics

A coat of paint, some plants, decent lighting and clean toilets would certainly go a long way. The buildings in which Home Affairs (HA) offices find themselves, seems to be in the cheapest, sleaziest parts of town. Also, how about some cleaners to sweep and polish floors? Comfortable seating and maybe even a small King Pie or Kentucky outlet as part of the complex. This would keep everybody well fed and happy, and contribute towards the rent bill.

Hours

HA should be open during normal office hours, including Saturday mornimgs. The old argument of closing early to “process” transactions is just an excuse. All new systems are online and processed immediately.

Forms and Queues

Scrap all forms.
Meet and greet each person as they arrive.
Find out (and verify) who they are.
Find out what they want to do.
Print out a “job card” with a date and time and a tracking number.
These tracking numbers are queued by the system and come up for attention in order.
If you are computer literate, provide terminals or ATM’s to process your own request and job card.
This job card will have a list of the things they need to complete (fingerprints etc.)
Let them be seated.
When their tracking number is announced (or displayed on a ticker tape screen) they go to an operator.
He/she takes down all of their details (enters directly into the computer) or takes their fingerprints etc.
They can use this job card tracking number to track the progress of say, their ID book.
Collections of documents are streamed completely differently. Present or quote the job number, identify yourself, and then receive the document.

Other Options

Physically going to the HA Office should be cheapest but last resort.
Allow Internet service (like Revenues eForms)
Call Centres with qualified operators who speak your home language.
SMS requests (110% of our population appear to have cell phones)
The high tech options should be more expensive, to fund the service and to pay for the convenience of not physically going to HA.
The tracking number can be tracked (ala Post Office) via Internet, call centre or SMS.

Give me a call Mr Msimang, I have millions of other ideas.

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