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 Throughout the 2015 growing season, we have heard about the challenges farmers are dealing with when it comes to disease and pest pressures, the unforgiving onslaught of thunderstorm after thunderstorm and what seems to be endless amounts of rain flooding out would-be flourishing corn and bean fields across Ohio.The weekly crop progress reports have pegged the northwest part of Ohio as the spot that was getting the brunt of the punishing weather and I have heard from farmers in that area about how bad things were. But, it wasn’t until a trip to that part of the state on July 21st that I truly understood the breadth of the unfortunate situation.I considered this a warmup to what is yet to come for my trips on the Ohio and Pro Farmer Crop Tours. Here are just some of the pictures that were collected during our recent drive through Logan, Auglaize, Allen and Putnam counties. A corn field with a temporary pond on St Rt 198 just north of Wapak in Auglaize County. A charcoal colored wheat field half harvested in Allen County. A small patch of soybeans trying to make a late run through some corn stalks from a year ago in Allen County. Water logged soybeans in Allen County. An Allen County corn field that show major signs of too much rain. A struggling corn field west of Elgin, Ohio. Middle Point, Ohio is where I found this field. A soybean field in Wetzel, Ohio has a long way to go. This Grover Hill, Ohio corn field was one of the worst of the day. Had to get up close to see this field of soybeans in Grover Hill, Ohio.
Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in UPDATED on March 18, 2019 Older buildings with load-bearing brick walls are common in many northern U.S. cities. While these thick (muti-wythe) brick walls were often plastered on the interior, they were rarely insulated.Load-bearing brick walls are tricky to insulate. Here’s why: if you insulate the wall on the interior, you’ll make the bricks colder during the winter. As we know from the psychrometric chart, cold bricks are always wetter than warm bricks. Once the wall is insulated, the escaping heat that formerly passed through the bricks is no longer available to drive out the moisture. So your wet bricks stay wet for a long time. In some cases, repeated cycles of freezing and thawing can permanently damage the bricks, causing them to fall apart.After I began researching and writing this article, I received an invitation to attend the Department of Energy’s Expert Meeting on Interior Insulation Retrofit of Mass Masonry Wall Assemblies, held on July 30, 2011 in Westford, Mass. (The meeting was sponsored by the Building America program.) The presenters at that meeting — John Straube, Henri Fennel, Terry Brennan, Bill Rose, Mark Bomberg, Christopher Schumacher, and Kohta Ueno — all contributed valuable information that helped with this article.If insulating a brick wall on the interior can make the wall vulnerable to freeze/thaw damage, does that mean such walls should never be insulated? No. But builders who want to insulate an old brick wall should proceed cautiously.There are no simple rules of thumb when it comes to assessing the vulnerability of an existing brick building to freeze/thaw damage. However, here are the most important points to remember:There is a simple way to avoid all of the problems listed above: just insulate your brick building on the exterior. (For more information on this option,… Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members
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