Home Affairs needs urgent help

After 9hrs in a queue, it was clear that the South African government represented by Home Affairs with its current practices, has limited respect for the average South African. The long queue levels citizens to lowly subjects. White, black and brown, rich and poor people are treated with equal obtuse indifference. In the 9hrs of waiting, I engaged official for about 9 minutes to apply and pay.

Stand for 5hrs in the sun and then let us talk about dignity. I stood next to a 77yrs old, who was told on inquiry, that he would have been assisted earlier if he was 80yrs. After 2hrs someone recalled the official asking him to assist the 77yr old as his legs were failing and there were no chairs.

The answers are simple. The 3 officials at reception issuing numbers are inadequate and so are other staff. Home Affairs needs staff who prefer working to lunch. Management must stop hiding in air-conditioned offices and visit the smelly work floors. Why are there no chairs to sit during the 5hr wait outside the building? Why do officials treat South Africans as if they are doing us a favor when we pay rates, taxes and cash for the document we receive. Are we not entitled to respect?  Why are their insufficient chairs at all points of engagement? Where are the cleaners and why do they not clean the toilets and where are the toilet taps? Why does the entire building stink, where is Ubuntu?

Since we are not all unemployed, is a better system impossible? Is it mandatory to waste an entire day from work just to stand in a queue? Can aspects of Home Affairs not be privatized so that we can have some dignity while applying and collecting documents? People will pay double for efficient, after-work visitation. Who benefits when a state doctor and a vagrant both waste 9hrs in a queue?

Home Affair’s on-line application is a mockery. After struggling for 3hrs my son, an IT expert gave up as the port refused to issue confirmation after sending 10 sms’s and 5 emails (I have proof). In any case, you must visit Home Affairs for photos and fingerprints and pay, thus the queue is inevitable.

The President must “surprise visit” Home Affairs in Cape Town and see for himself the awful service.

The official Lauren van der Scholtz deserves praise for her humanity and Mr. Winters must be removed from interacting with customers for his lack of skills and obtuse attitude.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress