MEDIA CONTACTS • Siobhan McCarthy Head of communication Department of Home Affairs + 27 82 886 6708 USEFUL LINKS • Department of Home Affairs • Department of International Relations • South Africa Travel Advice RELATED ARTICLES • SA passport made more secure • UK promise visa flexibility • Expats allowed to vote overseas Khanyi Magubane South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has introduced an innovative new system that will help speed up the processing of identity documents (IDs).According to the Identification Act of 1997 all South African citizens aged 16 years and older are required to carry an ID book as a positive form of identification. A citizen cannot vote or do certain banking transactions without a valid ID.The department’s new system enables officials to scan photos of ID applicants on to a computerised system, which then prints the image directly on the document.This will save officials time, as they no longer have to manually stick an applicant’s photo on his or her new ID.Until now home affairs has only used the digital system to process new South African passports, as a means of meeting international standards.The system, known as live capture, is part of the department’s turnaround strategy, which involves a complete overhaul of document-processing methods.Some 20 home affairs offices in the country have now been fitted with live capture workstations. Each unit is valued at about R250 000 (US$31 000).The government plans to equip every home affairs office with such a workstation by the end of its turnaround drive in March 2011. The drive kicked off in April 2008.The live capture system is also able to digitally capture applicants’ signatures and fingerprints.This will dramatically reduce the department’s admin duties and mass of paperwork, as until now copies of all citizens’ fingerprints and ID photos have had to be manually collected and filed.The system is linked to the department’s headquarters in Pretoria, which means that once an ID applicant’s details have been logged at a regional home affairs’ office, it can instantly determine whether the applicant is on the South African Population Register.This will enable IDs to be processed at the home affairs office where the application is made, as opposed to forms being transported and processed in Pretoria and then returned to the regional office. Such a method will reduce the waiting time for a new ID.Moving to an online systemProblems with inaccuracy in the past have strengthened the department’s need to capture details electronically.For example there have been gender glitches where a male is erroneously registered as a female, or vice versa, and in some cases home affairs has declared a person dead when he or she is still very much alive.The new Minister of Home Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is adamant that the department needs to move in line with global standards. In many overseas countries citizens are able to apply for documents online.“It is very clear that home affairs does need to ensure we can capture data electronically,” she said, quoted in government’s online news publication Bua News.“Of course with the global economic situation we may not be able to move as fast as we would like, but we will be moving to greater online services,” she added.The minister said the goal is to digitise most of the work that’s currently done manually.“We would eventually want to move towards becoming a paperless department. This is our ultimate objective,” she said.But changing from the old to the new system has not been without glitches.In May 2009 home affairs offices in the process of changing over were beset by IT problems.At the time Home Affairs Director-General Mavuso-Msimang acknowledged that the temporary setback was an inconvenience to the public, but said the changeover was necessary.“Home affairs is moving from some very old technology to new, improved systems. It is the interfacing of these systems that has created some delays in the production of passports,” he said.“The technology upgrades are imperative to the department’s programme to improve service delivery and the security of the passport,” he added.Speeding up the processThe department is confident that it will be able to achieve a number of its goals by 2011.One of these is to reduce the time taken to issue valid documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates. In 2007 the process took between six and eight weeks. By 2011 the department hopes to issue the documents on the same day people apply for them.The time taken to grant temporary passports and other emergency travel documents such as diplomatic passports and crew member certificates – issued to airline pilots and cabin crew staff to facilitate travel –will also be reduced to one day by the end of 2009.Permanent and temporary citizenship certificates will take one month to issue by 2011, as opposed to the current six-month waiting period due to sluggish document processing.Part of the department’s strategy includes the 2009 launch of a campaign that will run for the next two years. Under this campaign the department will ensure that every child in South Africa up to the age of 14 has a birth certificate.Thousands of children born in deep rural areas in South Africa go without birth certificates because their parents are too far away from a home affairs office.The department’s turnaround strategy will also have a strong human resources component, as its ultimate success is dependent on well-trained, disciplined and competent staff.In the past this has not been the case.According to a strategy document issued by the department, “the current employees’ capacity in terms of numbers, competencies and utilisation are not at the levels required to meet service delivery demands”.“The department is also not able to attract and retain the critical skills it requires. It is thus important to be proactive in planning for future resources in line with service delivery requirements.”As a means of addressing these problems, the department’s human resources division is embracing a new leadership model.This entails an increased delegation of authority to line mangers, who will work directly with staff in processing documents and liaising with the public.The new model will go a long way in reducing tedious bureaucratic processes, as immediate managers will have the power to take decisions and resolve issues without having to consult a long line of senior staff.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Farm Bureau Federation and Ohio Farm Bureau today presented Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) with AFBF’s Golden Plow award. The Golden Plow is the highest honor the organization gives to sitting members of Congress.“Senator Portman is a champion for farmers, particularly on regulatory reform,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. As lead sponsor of the Regulatory Accountability Act, he “is working to bring common sense to the federal rule-making process,” Duvall noted. “Farm Bureau is grateful for his dedicated service to agriculture and rural America.”Ohio Farm Bureau endorsed Portman for the award because of his commitment in Congress to issues important to farmers and ranchers. Ohio Farm Bureau appreciates that the senator’s priorities align with those of its members. “Senator Portman has always been an advocate for Ohio’s farmers,” said Frank Burkett III, president, Ohio Farm Bureau. “His leadership on issues such as regulatory reform is appreciated and valued. When Farm Bureau members need to talk, Senator Portman is always ready to listen.” Portman currently serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Finance Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Joint Economic Committee. Portman’s work in the Senate includes strong advocacy for tax reform and leadership in eliminating the UBIT provision from the Senate tax reform bill. He also knows how important export markets are to the farm economy, especially now, as a surplus of commodities continues to put pressure on the prices farmers receive. Portman is a former U.S. Trade Representative under President George H.W. Bush. He served in the U.S. House from 1993 to 2005. AFBF’s Golden Plow award recognizes members of Congress who exemplify agricultural leadership and support of Farm Bureau policies. Recipients are chosen for having a philosophy or record that demonstrates a commitment to sound agricultural policies supported by Farm Bureau, the private enterprise system, fiscal conservatism and reduced federal regulation of businesses and individuals.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Scattered showers remain over Ohio today. Additional moisture from a few hundredths to half an inch can be seen with 90% coverage. We should start to see skies turn partly sunny this afternoon over the western third of the state, as moisture ends there sooner. Tomorrow we see increasing clouds, and then scattered showers emerge with a minor trough passage. We can see up to .25” of moisture over about 60% of the state, but most of that will be mid to late afternoon or perhaps a bit later. We turn out partly to mostly sunny, dry and warm from Friday through Sunday. Temps normal to above normal. Monday turns out partly sunny, but we cant rule out a few scattered showers, mostly in the late afternoon and evening. The best chance of rain, both in terms of coverage and quantity comes overnight next Monday night through Tuesday. Showers and thunderstorms bring .25”-1.25” of moisture to 90% of the state. The map below shows 10 day rain potential. For the extended period, we have scattered showers from overnight next Friday night through Saturday morning, bringing .1”-.5” rain potential and 60% coverage. This is a lower rain outlook than our previous forecasts. We turn drier again for Saturday afternoon and next Sunday. The rest of the extended window has the potential to be wetter, and models went wetter in the past 24 hours. However, we are waiting to see what additional data says, considering how dry our atmospheric profile is at the time. We think the forecast models will revert to a drier solution again, and for now we are keeping our extended forecast unchanged: partly to mostly sunny skies, and temps normal to slightly above normal. But we are watching closely the period from the 19th through the 22nd to see if we need to make changes in the future.
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After blockbuster Dabangg Sonakshi Sinha is all set to make a comback in Rowdy Rathore along with Akshay Kumar.Bollywood’s original Khiladi Akshay Kumar returns to what he is best at- action. He will be seen packing some hardcore kicks and punches in Prabhu Deva directed Rowdy Rathore when it releases Friday.Made with a budget of approximately Rs.40 crore, the film is a remake of Telugu film Vikramarkudu. It is co-produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ronnie Screwvala. The film will be released in 2,300 screens in India and around 400 screens overseas.The film revolves around Shiva (Akshay), who is a small-time conman. He is head-over-heels in love with Priya (Sonakshi Sinha), a pretty girl whom he met at a wedding he wasn’t invited to. The picture perfect world of Shiva turns upside down with the entry of six-year-old girl Neha, who believes he is her father.Shiva also becomes the victim of a series of life threatening attacks by a gang of deadly criminals, who seem to know something he doesn’t. In the quest to save his life and love, Shiva stumbles upon a deadly secret, something which takes him to a small town in Bihar.That town is ruled by a ruthless MLA and the mafia he controls. The inhabitants of the small town find a saviour in Shiva.Akshay is said to have learned combat karate for his role in the film. He is seen sporting a rugged look in the film. The movie bosses had launched an online hunt for Akshay’s look for Rowdy Rathore.The cast and crew of the film had a tough time shooting in Karnataka’s temple town of Hampi. The shoot was disrupted after activists alleged that the makers didn’t use the minimum number of local dancers that they had promised.Sonakshi’s red sari act in the song Chhammak challo chail chabeeli has compelled people to draw comparisons with Kareena Kapoor’s Chhammak chhallo in RA.One. However, the actress brushes it off as mere co-incidence and insists the two songs should not be compared.Filmmakers have been coming up with innovative ways of promoting a film or launching the music and Rowdy Rathore too tried a new trick. The film’s music was launched in a chawl in Mumbai.This will be Sonakshi’s second release after blockbuster Dabangg.After this, Akshay and Sonakshi will appear together in Joker and strike a hattrick with Once Upon A Time Again.Two of the film’s songs have a slew of Southern and Hindi film actors making a special appearance. While Chinta ta chita has Tamil star Vijay, Kareena Kapoor, Rajesh Hamal and Prabhu Deva himself, Aa re pritam pyaare has Maryam Zakaria, Shakti Mohan, Mumaith Khan and Amit Kumar.advertisement
New Delhi, Dec 5 (PTI) Air pollution in the city is a cause of concern for not only the Sri Lankan cricketers but also for the footballers competing in the Indian Super League as they wore masks while training today.Delhi Dynamos take on Jamshedpur FC in their second home match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium tomorrow and a couple of players were seen wearing masks during the home sides training session.During the ongoing second cricket Test at Feroz Shah Kotla between India and Sri Lanka, the visiting players complained of breathing problems due to smog and continued to wear anti-pollution masks on the field.Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal confirmed that his players wore masks but said they will not use them during the match tomorrow.”This pollution is a problem but its not solely for the players and me. Its for the people of Delhi. We have been training with masks, so it is fine. The players will not be donning the masks on match day tomorrow,” Portugal said at the pre-match press conference.”It is a home and away league and it (tomorrow) is our home match. So there is no question of not playing, we have to play here. I will have no objection if a player chooses to wear one,” he added.Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell said the football matches should not have been held in Delhi during this time of the year though he stopped short of saying that its unsafe for players.advertisement”Around Diwali last year I came to Delhi with the Kerala Blasters team. When we played last year, at that time the measure (level) of particulate matters was over 500. I think its 300 today,” Coppell, who was the head coach of runners-up side Kerala Blasters in the last edition, said.”For the last three years I have been in Delhi at this time and there has been the exactly same commentary about doing something but nothing has happened. Last year I said that matches should not be scheduled in Delhi around this particular time of the year. Common sense should have prevailed.”Understandably, Coppell, a former Manchester United player and Manchester City coach, said he would have loved to play in better conditions. “Its not for sportsmen to say, it is a decision the health officials will have to make. If you ask me if I want to play in these conditions I would say I dont think so.” Asked specifically if its safe for the players, he said, “I dont know. I would have loved to play somewhere else in better conditions. “No, it is very difficult to play football with masks. I appreciate cricket players can play by wearing masks but it is very difficult for footballers. It shows the contrast between the two games. Football is a very intense game,” he said. Delhis viability as an international sports venue has been called into question after The Sri Lankan grievance came close on the heels of the furore that preceded last months Delhi Half Marathon which took place despite high pollution levels and an appeal by the Indian Medical Association to cancel the event.The second days play in the ongoing cricket match was halted for 26 minutes after Sri Lankans complained of breathing problems forcing Indian captain Virat Kohli to declare the innings at 536/7.The Indian team, however, has taken the conditions in its stride with pacer Mohammed Shami casually stating that they are “used to suffering” and did not want to make a big deal out of it. PTI PDS PM PM