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Lisa Jehaan Adams
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Home Affairs help line, give me a life line instead please

15 November 2011, 14:27

South Africa Government Services:  We care We belong We serve

We care about our tea-breaks. We belong back in pre-school. We serve Malema, and all things that relate to stupidity.

Yes, I am but one of a million other frustrated South Africans, with a desperate and insatiable urge to punch Home Affairs in the face. As many other South Africans are doing on a daily, I recently (about 7 months ago to be precise) strolled along to Home Affairs to stand in an entertainingly extensive line to go and confirm my identity. Also known as, applying for an ID. In this line I stood behind someone who wasted 15 minutes arguing that they are in actual fact “not an initial” when asked for their initials, and confronted by an official who used his mouth cleaning out some chicken from his teeth more than he used it to answer any of my questions. This then resulted in not one but five trips back, a couple of phone calls, confusion in paper-work, a total misconception of reality for certain officials and another adventure back to the land of homing affairs. Yes this is my testament of my struggle and absolute adoration for the system of government services.  I never thought the day would come where I’d want to pull on my dancing shoes, sing on the top of my lungs and join the service delivery protests.

This is an on-going battle between South African citizens and the guy chewing on a piece of yesterday’s chicken he found stuck in his back tooth, sitting behind the counter at Home Affairs. I’m yet to see a functional official behind that god-forsaken counter. Hundreds and if not ALL, South Africans have had an issue at some point in their lives with Home Affairs. If it hasn’t been a lost ID, receiving an ID with somebody else’s face on your name, finding that out that you now have in-laws situated in the lovely lands of Zimbabwe, or just dealt with the arrogant, sloppy and downright dysfunctional attitude of “South African Home Affairs”, the list is endless. So what do you do about it? Besides nag, complain, get into an obscene argument with the lady responsible for photographing your ecstatic face, because she wants you to wait until somebody else comes for two-photographs as it only prints in four, so you wait another 30 min. NO, you call Home Affairs Compliments and Complaints Line. And call another 8 times because there is no answer. So why create this line when there is nobody at the other end to attend to the call? The line defeats its own purpose. So now I need a Life-Line because I’m about to have a heart-attack, as well as a moderately over-achieving degree in “stalkership”.

I then proceeded to log onto the well-known website, just to browse around and have a general overview of the amount of complaints that were logged onto the site. In a survey done by HelloPeter about the “Nature of complaints towards Home Affairs (over the last 12 months) “, the top contenders were: Late/ No delivery 33%; Feedback/Response 16% and in third place the almighty…. BAD ATTITUDE at 6%.  Some major changes are desperately required within our South African Government Services, maybe start with baby-steps like officials treating their fellow citizens with some dignity, respect and intelligence.

Someone call sister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, she must be very busy and forgot this note at home entailing the intended vision of Home Affairs: “to be an efficient and effective machinery of timely justice in handling complaints against respective institutions within the ministry of home affairs” eish sister, answer your phone please.
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