Home Affairs out to lunch

The life of a young man has been ruined, thanks to the inefficiency of the Home Affairs Department.

The life of a young man has been ruined, thanks to the inefficiency of the Home Affairs Department.

In November last year Kabelo Thibedi caused a stir when he held up a department official with a toy gun. This after three years of frustration in trying to get an identity document.

While the hostage situation was unfolding in Johannesburg, his ID was flown from Pretoria and handed to him, ending the drama.

That, if nothing else, clearly proves the inefficiency of the department. The document had been there all along, despite the nonsense the young man was told each time he went to collect it.

Thibedi's action was wrong and criminal. But with all respect to the court, a five-year jail term in addition to all the troubles in his personal life will simply exacerbate the situation by destroying a young man's life.

An inefficient Home Affairs Department is at the core of most of his problems.

Criminal as his act was, Thibedi was generally applauded for illustrating the frustration of millions in the country who are gatvol with an inept public service.

We are mindful of the dangers of condoning hostage situations, even if toy guns are used. We say unequivocally that Thibedi was wrong and his actions need sanctioning.

But locking him in jail for five years will not rehabilitate him. It definitely won't usher in a more efficient public service.

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