The DA says its recent oversight visits to home affairs offices in Benoni and Edenvale in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng have revealed several concerning shortcomings.
The party has called on Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to urgently review his department’s current system to manage long queues and excessive delays at home affairs offices across the country.
DA MP and spokesperson on home affairs, Angel Thembisile Khanyile, said the party had been inundated with complaints from outraged citizens that lamented the service at various home affairs offices.
“At the Edenvale offices, officials were directing people to the Benoni and Kempton Park offices as their systems had been offline for days.
“The DA was informed that not only had no work been done for two days, but that this systems failure was a weekly occurrence. The continuous cable theft in the area prompted the office to install an MTN router, but this failed to solve the problem,” Khanyile said in a statement on Saturday.
The MP said the DA had received a report alleging that the home affairs offices in Benoni were only assisting five people per hour, while people were forced to stand in long queues without a queue marshal to ensure that social distancing is observed.
“Upon our arrival, we found a long queue with people indicating that they have been waiting for assistance since 07:30 that morning. The manager at this office informed the DA that they too were struggling with their system and that it was offline. Both sites had also only capacitated their offices to 50% due to Covid-19 regulations.”
Khanyile said while the DA understood that some services would be unavailable due to restrictions pertaining to level 3 of the lockdown, it was simply unacceptable that Motsoaledi and his department were yet to come to a satisfactory solution.
“South Africa has experienced various levels of restrictions since March last year. Everyone has had to adapt and ensure service delivery, and it is high time that the ANC government did the same.
“Minister Motsoaledi is a medical doctor to boot. The DA would assume that he would know better than anyone the risk of contracting Covid-19 in long queues where the observance of social distancing becomes less the longer people are forced to wait in queues and then face the possibility of having to return the next day.”
The DA said the Department of Home Affairs could easily solve its challenges by availing some services online as well as enabling people to reserve appointment slots.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe