Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says that his department will embark on a massive hiring drive to speed up the digitisation of documents at offices across the country.

The department aims to hire 10,000 unemployed young graduates over a three-year contract period, who will be trained and paid a stipend of between R5,000 and R14,250 – depending on seniority – to oversee the project.

The minister said the project will run from November 2022 until October 2025.

“The Department will partner with relevant stakeholders to facilitate training of these recruits. Training offered will be relevant to job for which they are contracted to perform, and continuous learning and development interventions will be provided to enhance their employability and/or allow them to leverage on entrepreneurial opportunities beyond the project,” Motsoaledi said.

Considering the large number to be recruited, the acquisition process will be undertaken in a phased approach as follows:

  • Phase 1 – will see the recruitment of the first intake of 2,000 unemployed youth graduates. The adverts for this phase will be available from 12 August 2022. This cohort will assume duty on 1 November 2022.
  • Phase 2 – will see further recruitment of 4,000 unemployed youth graduates. The adverts for this phase will be placed during October 2022. This cohort will assume duty in January 2023.
  • Phase 3 – will see a further and last recruitment of 4,000 unemployed youth graduates. The adverts for this phase will be placed during December 2022 and January 2023. This cohort will assume duty in April 2023.

Parallel to the process of youth acquisition, the department is also preparing the workstations and sourcing tools required to ensure that they are able to start digitising records in December 2022, the minister said.

Motsoaledi said that the digitisation process would go a long way in assisting South Africans who need to make use of Home Affairs’ services, but who end up waiting in queues to get it done.

“Quite often, South Africans complain bitterly about the delays they experience when they apply for Unabridged Birth Certificates, Unabridged Marriage Certificates, Amendments and Rectification of their biographic details,” he said.

“This is because to finalise all these applications, Home Affairs officials have to manually search for original documents among these 350 million manual records. Obviously, such a tedious process will take a long time, which people may not be aware of. This leads to frustration when people have to make several visits to Home Affairs.”

Once the records are digitised, Home Affairs officials will have access to records at the click of a button and would be able to finalise the applications instantly.

“This will obviate people having to come to the office on multiple occasions. Grade 12 learners will be able to spend more time studying and preparing for their exams instead of making several visits to Home Affairs offices.

“Reducing the number of times a person needs to visit a Home Affairs office for these services will reduce queues in our offices,” he said.

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