Govt office in a car

2014-03-07 00:00

GOVERNMENT officials working in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands have been serving the public from their cars as there are no offices set aside for them in these areas.

The Department of Labour in Howick, Impendle, Camperdown and New Hanover doesn’t have offices. Staff work from their car boots.

Two officials from the department visit Howick once a week on Thursdays.

Residents in the area find themselves queuing up to be helped at the mercy of the elements. The “mobile office” is a VW Polo that parks under a tree next to the Howick police station.

Howick police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley said he was not aware that they were no longer operating from inside the station.

“Initially we gave them accommodation as they used to come and take the key to the office they used from the charge office. We were not aware that they were no longer using the office until you alerted us,” said Moodley.

The two female officials in the car did not want to comment.

A member of the public, who asked not to be named, told The Witness that the way the Labour Department staff were forced to operate was very difficult for both them and the public as they get wet on rainy days and feel the heat on sunny days.

“The department should do something about this. What if we lose our documents that we submit to them? That would be a huge problem for us as fraud and corruption is rife in this country,” said a woman who was submitting her papers.

Documents are spread out on the dashboard as the officials in the car serve the public from behind the steering wheel.

A source within the department said the problem was not unique to Howick.

“We visit these places once a month. Camperdown officials work out of a garage at court on the first Friday of every month, and out of their cars at Impendle, New Hanover and Howick.”

Department spokesperson Nhlanhla Khumalo said the situation is receiving attention from the provincial management of the department.

“This will soon be resolved. The utilisation of a motor vehicle could be because our office in Pietermaritzburg wants to ensure that the service to our clients is minimally affected,” said Khumalo.

“The department would also like to sincerely apologise to our clients in Howick area for the inconvenience,” said Khumalo.

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