Long queues for IDs

2018-06-06 16:00
Petermaritzburg citizens are still facing long lines at the petermaritzburg home affairs on Tuesday.

Petermaritzburg citizens are still facing long lines at the petermaritzburg home affairs on Tuesday. (Nompilo Kunene)

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Pietermaritzburg residents say there has been no improvement at the local Home Affairs offices following Minister Malusi Gigaba’s visit in April.

During his visit, Gigaba promised that immediate action would be taken to improve long queues bedevilling the centre’s operations, but admitted it would not be a quick fix.

“There is no way we are going to allow our people to be subjected to the indignity of standing in long queues at our offices. Over the next 12 months, our singular attention will be to increase our footprint, improve productivity and lessen waiting time,” said Gigaba.

After being inundated with complaints from the public, The Witness visited the Home Affairs offices just before noon on Tuesday and found long queues snaking out of the Home Affairs office in Church Street and around the corner into Printing Office Street.

A local resident, who asked not to be named, said she has been to the Home Affairs office numerous times in the past month trying to collect her identity document (ID) and passport, without success.

The mother of a four-month-old baby told The Witness she has lost count of how many times she has queued outside the offices, sometimes with her baby.

“It’s been 27 or 28 days since I got the message to collect my ID but it just seems impossible to actually get inside to get it.”

The woman said another problem was that there were no facilities for women with babies to sit down or toilets to change their babies’ nappies in so they are forced to stand for hours in the long queues carrying their babies.

Nkanyiso Dlamini from Ixopo said he had taken Monday and Tuesday off to collect his ID.

Dlamini alleged that there were people who were paying bribes to jump the queue. “If Home Affairs now operates with bribes they must let us know and make it official so we know to bring money to pay bribes,” he said.

Dlamini said he had a minor altercation with a security guard on Monday after he questioned why some people were being allowed in without standing in the queue.

“I asked to see the manager but the security guards refused and told me to get lost,” he said.

Peter Ward from Mooi River said it was his second time there to collect his ID and passport. “I had applied at the Estcourt offices and I think my biggest mistake was asking to collect my document here in Maritzburg,” he said.

A 17-year-old matric pupil from Mcoseleli Secondary School in the Table Mountain area, who was also standing in the long queue, said officials refused to assist her because she had arrived after 9 am and did not have proof that she was a matric pupil. “This whole thing is frustrating and stressful because I really need my ID to apply for varsity next year but I am also missing out on school,” she said.

Other local residents suggested that Gigaba should pay another surprise visit to the local offices.

Cyril Mncwabe, Home Affairs provincial manager, said the recent long queues were as a result of huge volumes of IDs that had been sent as part of backlog reduction. He said to deal with the high volumes of collections, they had added counters for collections and created a dedicated counter for school pupils and for vulnerable groups.

On the issue of the public not being allowed to speak to the manager, Mncwabe said his contact details are on display at the Home Affairs office entrance and encouraged anyone who encounters problems to contact him directly on 079 491 9330. Mncwabe said school pupils are prioritised in the morning from 7.30 am to allow them to rush back to school, but emphasised that they should be in school uniform, or carry proof that they are pupils.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  home affairs

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