War against long queues rages on

Image: FILE

It may be correct to say that "the home affairs department's war against queues was seemingly still far from being won" (Sowetan, May 15).

Yet to leave it at that would downplay the strides so far made.

The waiting time alluded to is a reality. There are reasons for this, including office footprint, the fact that the department does not use an appointment system, and infrastructure and network challenges. Notwithstanding the challenges, many citizens and foreigners do get the services they require.

It is no mean feat to process 154,132 ID requests in only three days as the department did between May 6 and 8 in support of citizens needing documents for voting.

For special voting on May 6-7, home affairs served people from 8am to 7pm, and on election day, consistent with the hours at voting stations as set by the IEC, from 7am to 9pm. Some officials even worked beyond the agreed extended hours because there were still people to be served, and not only for IDs.

When the war against queues campaign was launched in 2017, five home affairs offices; Alexandra, Soweto, Pietermaritzburg, Umgeni and East London were identified for immediate intervention.

The five offices that were to serve as a benchmark now have manageable queues, and indeed function as model offices. Home affairs provincial managers are to play a pivotal role in replicating the model office in their respective provinces.

- David Hlabane,media manager, department of home affairs

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