Queuing for hours, no seating and rude staff. This is what what you can expect if you need to visit Home affairs in Tzaneen and residents had enough. Tzaneen residents queuing for the Home Affairs services.
A Tzaneen resident, Karel van der Gryp, says that he is still unable to collect his passport because of the long lines.
“I received an SMS telling me to come to the branch to collect my passport and I went there. But I was shocked to learn that I had to queue on the long line outside for something that could be done in two minutes. The employees were also rude, more like dictators. I ended up queuing for four hours without any help, I now have to take another day off from work just to pick up a passport,” frustrated Gryp explained.
He says that things would get better if there could be different lines for different services, and if people outside could have chairs to sit on.
Things would improve if elderly people, pregnant women, and the sick could be given first treatment and also given numbers to use for the queue so when they return the next day they do not start from scratch.
Letaba Herald visited the branch at around 13:30 pm on Wednesday, February 7 and there were still two long lines of people who mostly came in the early hours of the morning, but they were still not helped.
They resorted to sitting down on the pavement because there are no chairs for people to sit on while they wait to be helped.
The Herald spoke to a man who is planning to travel overseas soon.
“I have been coming here for the past three days to apply for my passport but to no avail. If things continue like this, I won’t even manage to travel, because I keep on coming here every day and the results are the same,” said an anonymous hopeful applicant.
Thabo Mokgolo, National Spokesperson of the Department of Home Affairs, has acknowledged the problem as a national issue.
The Director-General of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni in January said that one of the causes of the influx to the branches is the fake messages which were circulating, that the Green I.D. book will expire by March 31, 2018.
Apleni encourages those with access to the internet to apply for their smart ID cards and passport online, using the eHomeAffairs portal, available on www.dha.gov.za.
However, the finalisation of the applications can only be done in 14 banks of which 13 are in Gauteng and one in Cape Town.
“We intend to continue rolling out additional smart ID card offices in order to cover the majority of our population in all provinces,” he added.
The Herald spoke to several people who confirmed that they have been returning since Monday to just apply for an I.D and their challenge is money because they stay far and have to use public transport.