One of the biggest frustrations experienced by adult South Africans occurs in government offices tasked with issuing documents to citizens. Whether identity cards, drivers' licences or passports, the mind-numbing queues and a disgraceful lack of service ethic combine to undermine both the public's productivity and its faith in government delivery. But it does not have to be this way. Technology holds a tried-and-tested solution. Five years ago, Kenyan citizens were in the same leaking boat. However, the government had made an election promise to transform the public service. It launched a programme called Huduma Kenya, designed to create one-stop shops for all document requirements, an online platform for applications and a digital back office that would process documents speedily and efficiently. "It was meant to address inefficiencies in the front offices of government, where Kenya citizens used to travel long distances in order to access services, wait long hours, and were subjec...

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