In a bid to improve service delivery and to meet the set customer service standards, the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has joined hands with a local mobile network, Mascom, to expedite the distribution of citizen identity cards and passports to the applicants, irrespective of the localities from where they filed their applications.
An official launch of the project is scheduled for the end of the week.
Lebogang Bok, Principal Public Relations Officer at the Ministry, confirmed this and said, “We intend that, as of now, the focus will mainly be on Omang and passports.”
“What will happen,” she said, “is that once a person’s ID or passport is ready, the system will automatically send out an SMS text message notifying the concerned applicant so that, consequently, there will be no need for frequent and, sometimes, costly visits to the relevant offices.”
It is hoped that the system would go a long way towards reducing the backlog of uncollected cards and passports, whilst, at the same time, maximizing the human resource capital in the affected departments that would then be able to direct their energies in more serious business, than attending to “enquiries”.
Often times, there have been complaints of people being returned many times over for a variety of reasons. In some cases, it would be that the IDs could not be found, whereas the most common one, which clients would always be expected to understand, is that, “it is not yet ready, please check again next week.”
And so on and so on, until one tires.
For this reason, the Mascom initiative is a giant leap in the effort at improving customer service.
“Moreover, to us, it is also an opportunity for strengthening Government-Private Sector partnership,” said Bok, who could hardly hide her excitement at the new development.
Bok pointed out that the invitation for this project was extended to Mascom as well as both Orange and Be Mobile.
“Although they all acknowledged receipt of our invitation, it would appear that Mascom was quick to respond, and we were satisfied after considerable engagement that they have the capacity to meet the desired objective,” she said.
This follows a series of strategic changes in the manner of doing things at the Ministry; included in that is the introduction of an e-passport system, whose installation started in November last year.
The expectation is that by 2010, all the borders would have been computerized and all the relevant data appropriately entered; thus the new ID form of passport, set to replace the current book one, will be machine-readable.
According to the MLHA official, all these measures should be sufficient to change the perceptions that people hold about service in Government offices, and are a re-assurance of a whole new outlook envisaged by Vision 2016.
“That,” said Bok, “means greater customer satisfaction and observance of set standards, on the basis of which our customers can take us to task.”
To formalize the partnership, top officials from both Government and Mascom are expected to append their signatures to an agreement that gives effect to the project, which is set to commence immediately thereafter.