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Home affairs is opening offices in these five malls

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced his department plans to open more branches in shopping malls across SA to reduce long queues at its current branches.
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced his department plans to open more branches in shopping malls across SA to reduce long queues at its current branches.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The department of home affairs plans to open more branches in shopping malls across SA to reduce long queues. 

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed this during his department’s budget vote speech this week. 

“Operating home affairs offices at malls will obviate the problem of queuing in the sun or rain. Malls will also provide convenient and safe parking for clients,” he said. 

Motsoaledi said since the malls have to move some tenants around to make way for home affairs, the department will install equipment around September. 

Which malls will home affairs operate at?

Motsoaledi said the department would start with five malls, three of which are in Gauteng, one in KwaZulu-Natal and the other in Cape Town. 

“We shall start with Menlyn Mall in Pretoria, Cresta Mall and Southgate Mall in Johannesburg, the pavilion in eThekwini and Tygervalley Mall in Cape Town. 

“It is hoped that the Cresta mall operation will help relieve the much-maligned Randburg offices and operations in the Pavilion Mall will relieve the pressure on our Umgeni offices which are often not well spoken about.”

More mobile offices on the cards

Motsoaledi said the department bought 10 extra mobile trucks for R15m and will add another 15 for R20m this financial year. 

“Our trucks were very helpful during the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.

“We will continue adding more trucks each financial year until we have increased our total tally by 100% from the present 100 trucks to 200 trucks.  

“We would like to see a situation where no learner is allowed near any home affairs office during school hours but wait for the mobile trucks to visit their school. This school programme is run by the deputy minister Njabulo Nzuza.”

How will the department deal with staff shortages?

Motsoaledi said the department had complained that its front offices are only 39% staffed, contributing to long queues.

The decline in staffing began when the National Treasury set a limit on the budget for employee compensation.

“Hence, when people left the department by natural attrition, they were not replaced. Furthermore, population growth was not catered for,” Motsoaledi said.

“Added to this, is a painful loss of more than 40 front office staff due to Covid-19.”

He said the reallocation of departmental budgets to help health facilities fight Covid-19 also affected his department.

“We have been awarded R266m, which will help push our staffing level to at least 42% by hiring an additional 764 employees.

“517 of these employees will be front office staff, and 288 will be new immigration officers.”

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