Pretoria - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has launched a new departmental contact centre that will bring immediate resolutions to customers’ queries.

The contact centre officially opened a few months ago, he said on Tuesday, and described it as a multi-platform accessible centre.

“I am quite happy with how it is operating. Nothing less than high-class services will satisfy South Africans,” Gigaba said.

The facility allowed for people to call, e-mail or access the contact centre via the internet. People can click on an app on the department’s website to access the centre.

Once a query has been logged through any of these three ports of access, the operator will be able to resolve them immediately.

For example, should somebody need to track the progress of an abridged birth certificate application, they can quote their ID number and the operator can track when the application was made. The operator will then see the history of the application and what is delaying it or when it will be ready.

“The operators are able to take 120 calls at a time and we haven’t experienced any problems so far.”

Gigaba said 112 operators had been employed at the contact centre, eight fewer than the number the centre could allow, and they would assess its progress to see what additions or adjustments would be needed.

“The operators have to be polite and courteous. Imagine sitting in front of a telephone the whole day and answering 120 calls. Some callers are rude, so the operators have to be polite and calm the person down and talk them through the process.”

Deputy director-general for institutional planning and support, Thulani Mavuso, said all operators had a matric certificate and at least three years experience at a call centre.

The centre is open weekdays between 7.30am and 5.30pm and Saturdays between 8am and noon and deals with mostly civic and immigration services.