Home Affairs failing citizens

Signage above the entrance of a regional Home Affairs office
Signage above the entrance of a regional Home Affairs office
Image: FILE

The Department of Home Affairs wastes millions of rands of taxpayers' money due to numerous court battles, inefficiency and laziness, and more.

The department is understaffed. Staff are poorly trained and, in most cases, are not multi-skilled.

Minister Malusi Gigaba awarding citizenship status to the Gupta family is but a small taste of the misery that the department inflicts on thousands upon thousands of immigrants and residents every year.

Many South Africans, especially those in rural areas, have no access to the department or its services.

These people sometimes have to travel hundreds of miles to reach a Home Affairs office in order to register a birth or a death. Their quality of life is consequently negatively influenced by delayed access to the social grants they are constitutionally entitled to.

There is also the case of immigrants who qualify for temporary and permanent residency and citizenship but still have to wait for years for their applications to be approved for no apparent reason other than the Department of Home Affair's inefficiency.

Compare that to a family who have reportedly stolen billions of rands meant for elevating millions of South African citizens out of poverty.

The understaffing issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and the posts filled with competent and well-trained officials.

New information technology, new systems, computers and terminals are desperately needed. A considerable capital outlay is also needed to address the infrastructure shortcomings. This is of importance and failure to do so will result in the collapse of this basic function of the department.

It is not right that we, the taxpayer, should shoulder the burden of a department that is failing at its basic duties.

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