Ban home affairs officials from using cellphones at front desks – MPs

2019-01-14 13:01
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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A parliamentary committee on Monday called for an outright ban of cellphone use by home affairs officials at the department's front desks.

Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs chairperson Hlomani Chauke urged the department to consider the ban during working hours following an "excessive amount of complaints".

"It is unacceptable that the public spends excessive amounts of time at home affairs offices while officials spend a disproportionate amount of time busy with their cellphones," he said on Monday.

Chauke said the grievances pointed to poor public service by officials.

READ: Ghanaian matriculant battles with Home Affairs over documents

"Officials are primarily employed to offer a service and the complaints point to dereliction of duty by some officials, yet they continue to draw a salary at the end of the month."

Chauke also revealed that poor service was observed at ports of entry across the country.

"This gives a bad impression to visitors when they arrive in the country. This is more concerning because the president has anchored his economic growth drive to tourism, which will be undermined by poor service."

Unreliable software

He called for the nationwide implementation of a draft framework that would give guidelines on the use of cellphones at front desks. The framework would include guidelines on how officials should be contacted in cases of family emergencies.

"One of the keys to resolving the long queues at home affairs offices is by ensuring that officials are at their desks offering the services they are employed to do."

Chauke said the committee was cognisant of the fact that one of the major causes of long queues was unreliable IT software.

"But professional service at the department must improve," he said.

In March last year, a video of a home affairs official using social media while stamping documents went viral.

WATCH: Home affairs official busy on social media while stamping passports

In the video the official, who is wearing a black home affairs T-shirt, can be seen distractedly checking a passport while focusing on her phone where a Facebook feed is open.

Then minister Malusi Gigaba tweeted that he had been informed of the incident and was investigating.

Read more on:    department of home affairs  |  service delivery
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