Going to the Home Affairs office is a dreaded affair for all South Africans – there is nothing appealing about waiting in long, slow-moving lines and dealing with sometimes unfriendly, bored staff.
Following a viral video that shows officers in a Home Affairs office in Tongaat focusing on their cellphones while ignoring clients, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs Hlomani Chauke has urged Home Affairs to evaluate whether an outright ban on mobile phone usage by front-line staff during working hours should be instated.
“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 mobile phones,” Chauke said in a statement. “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 added that multiple reports of officers on their cellphones have come in from ports of entry across the country, and expressed concern at the impression this gives visitors to South Africa.
“We are, of course, cognisant that one of the major causes of long queues is the downtime caused by unreliable information and technology software, but professional service at the department must improve,” he said. “At its first meeting of the year, the committee will invite the Minister and the Acting Director-General to give an update on measures implemented to resolve this challenge.”
Home Affairs officials in Tongaat busy on their cellphones whilst people queue in the heat. pic.twitter.com/Jew4QXXNm2
— RSA Citizen (@zarcitizen) January 11, 2019