The Department of Home Affairs has issued a warning to two officials who were recorded using their cellphones while on duty after it found that there had been a power failure in their Tongaat office at the time.
The officials faced severe backlash when a video of them using their phones on January 10 went viral, garnering a barrage of negative comments from social media users.
Department spokesperson Siya Qoza on Friday said an investigation was conducted by KwaZulu-Natal manager Cyril Mncwabe who discovered that the duo were using their phones during a 20-minute power outage.
He said the break in services was announced to clients and this is when the officials used their phones.
"There were compelling reasons for the two officials to use their cellphones during the service break, but they should have excused themselves to attend to personal matters at the back office."
Qoza said that when the officials spoke to investigators, they said they had used their phones at their desks so they could immediately resume work once their system came online.
'A second chance'
"One was arranging for a child to be picked up from school and the other official was following up on repairs to his vehicle. They were to work overtime on the day."
He said the officials acknowledged their mistake and voluntarily apologised for the "misjudgment".
"Since there are no pending misconduct cases or investigations against them, and they render services diligently, it was concluded that they be given a written warning for their actions."
Qoza said senior departmental officials would monitor the Tongaat office.
"On the basis of the findings and recommendations, a second chance is justifiable in this regard as it would encourage our officials to always exercise good judgement and adhere religiously to departmental policies," director general Thulani Mavuso added.