Frustrated people queueing outside a Home Affairs office. Picture: Motswhari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Frustrated people queueing outside a Home Affairs office. Picture: Motswhari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Motsoaledi comes down hard on Home Affairs staff telling public 'they've served more than enough for the day'

By Siyavuya Mzantsi Time of article published Oct 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Home Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has slammed the conduct of staff who cut queues and send people home because there were already “more than enough people to serve for the day”.

Recently, frustrated residents protested outside the Mitchells Plain Home Affairs office after they were told the office could only assist 100 people a day.

Community activist Richard Williams said people were furious they could not get assistance after arriving and queueing at the office from as early as 4am.

“What happened was that they only helped 100 people at a time. And the people were very unsatisfied because they have to pay twice now for travelling from their homes to the offices, and when they reach 100, they say they are done, and people now have to return home,” he said.

Motsoaledi said on Monday it was a wrong practice of sending people home at 7am.

“We want to emphasise that there is no government policy that provides for that, and members of the public should not be treated like that. Where it happens, members of the public must challenge it, take down the name of the official who wants to send them home and raise it with the office manager,” said Motsoaledi.

He made the comments when the department announced that the high demand for services at Home Affairs offices has the approval of a temporary extension of operating times by two and a half hours at front offices from 8am to 5.30pm from on Monday.

The temporary extension is meant to resolve congestion at the identified offices, which increased over the last two weeks, and this intervention will be supported by the 100% return of staff in all offices, said the department.

Out of the 412 Home Affairs offices, 197 were modernised Live Capture offices which can process Smart ID Cards and passports. These are the offices that will operate for extended hours because that is where the high demand is being experienced.

“The Deputy Minister and I have been receiving a lot of complaints from irate citizens across the country. Most of these people have complained about a bad practice by some Home Affairs offices, where queues are cut and people sent home presumably because there are already more than enough people to serve for the day,” said Motsoaledi.

He said the only people who will be sent home are those arriving after 5.30pm.

“Everybody who arrives before 17:30 should be served and not turned away. Home Affairs exists to deliver enabling documents to people. We can’t turn away people who are looking for public services if they arrive within the stipulated hours of work,” said Motsoaledi.

In the unfortunate event of the system being off-line, the department said it would ensure quick intervention.

“We appeal to members of the public to understand because this is something beyond our control. Senior managers will visit offices unannounced to monitor operations on the ground,” said the department.

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