‘Wait, I’m busy talking’

2018-05-30 06:01
                                  PHOTO: NOKUTHULA KHANYILEKZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda posing as a member of the public at the Mkondeni testing centre.

PHOTO: NOKUTHULA KHANYILEKZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda posing as a member of the public at the Mkondeni testing centre.

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“BE patient and wait your turn.” Or else.

MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda got a taste of customer service in action at the Mkondeni testing centre yesterday when an official put him in his place when he asked to be served.

Kaunda, wearing a nondescript cap, was passing himself off as a regular civilian when he made an unannounced visit to the centre yesterday morning.

He wanted to see for himself whether the facility was being run properly and giving the community quality service.

When he arrived, Kaunda collected a licence renewal application form and joined the queue.

None of the staff members recognised him — even though his photograph adorns the walls.

Within minutes he had a run-in with the staff’s dismissive attitude, which has been the subject of countless complaints.

The queue was being held up by two employees having a chat instead of attending to applicants.

Kaunda chastised the two women and told them to get to work. He told them their social chit-chat was delaying the application process and creating a backlog.

“You are here to offer us a service … your conversation is disrupting the work that you are supposed to be doing and you are inconveniencing us. We took a few hours off work to come here and do our licence applications ... this is unacceptable,” Kaunda said.

One of the women, who it later emerged was a cashier, brashly told Kaunda to be patient. “Do you even know what we are talking about? For having a loud mouth we will not assist you,” she threatened.

It was then that the MEC requested to speak to the supervisor privately to report her.

He instructed that disciplinary action should be instituted against the woman. “If she always behaves like this you must fix it,” Kaunda told the employee’s supervisor.

The MEC said he was extremely concerned by her attitude as it was contrary to the principles of Batho Pele.

Kaunda said that in the meeting the cashier insisted that she and her colleague had been talking about a “glitch” in the cashiers’ section.

“I always caution employees in the public service that they should not converse whilst they are attending to clients.” The slow pace of the long queues, power outages and limited staff were other issues highlighted by the public and staff members during the visit. Kaunda spent most of the morning speaking to people who had been queuing for service.

Some expressed their frustration about the slow-moving queues, while others complained about limited “windows” open for service.

“I have been waiting here for over an hour. All I want is a date for my driving test. I was here yesterday and I have still not been assisted.

One of the officials told me to wait but no one is assisting me,” said one man. Another applicant requested Kaunda to increase the number of cashiers. “We are addressing the issue of personnel shortages with the Road Traffic Inspectorate.

That has been a challenge for a long time,” said Kaunda.

“Even though we are experiencing a shortage of personnel we need to mitigate in between and ensure that people do not go out for tea breaks or lunch at the same time. It must be done periodically whilst they continue attending to the customers. Customers come first,” he added.

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