DA urges Home Affairs to fix branch appointment booking system

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
16 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find an attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP 

Last year, the Department of Home Affairs launched the Branch Appointment Booking System (BABS), a new appointment booking system for smart ID cards and passports, that was designed to reduce long queues at various Home Affairs offices across the country.

The DA supported the initiative when it was revealed back in September 2021 because it was something we previously proposed to help reduce the long queues at Home Affairs offices.

Unfortunately, we have received several complaints from members of the public reporting that the BABS system is having serious challenges in some offices across the country, including those in the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng.

One of the major experiences of the public is that they are still required to wait in long queues despite confirmation of their booking appointments.

This is regrettably the opposite of what BABS’s online booking system is supposed to be.

On March 30 2022, the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee, led by Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza, conducted an oversight inspection at the recently-opened office in Menlyn Mall.

In one instance, an applicant who had a confirmation for a  12:00 appointment had still not been helped two hours later.

He was instructed to wait in the queue to be assisted once everyone else who arrived before him had been helped.

The DA therefore requests that the department address this issue and ensure uniformity in all offices that have access to BABS by issuing a directive to all offices outlining how this system should operate.

This will help to ensure that applicants get the most out of scheduling appointments, and that they do not waste excessive amounts of their precious time at queueing at Home Affairs offices.

The DA will monitor the developments closely and will not rest until the plight of citizens who must wait for hours in long queues at various Home Affairs offices is resolved.