When it comes to government departments, Home Affairs is one that takes plenty of flak from the public. Often, they only have themselves to blame, as South African citizens have become tired of lengthy queues, unnecessary waiting periods and general frustration when applying for passports, smart ID cards and other important documents.
But credit needs to be given where credit is due, which is why we welcome the department of home affairs’ decision to extend their office hours at the start of 2019 to deal with a busy period of the year.
From last week, until the end of this week, some of its offices across the country were operating on a 7am-to-7pm shift to ensure people were not turned away.
“On a normal shift, clients are served from 8am until 3.30pm. This [extension of operating hours] is a result of the long queues home affairs offices had experienced last year around this time. The decision to extend the hours for this period is also in support of the war on queues campaign that was launched last year, in April,” said Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele’s spokesperson Siya Qoza.
“Extending office hours at large offices and selected medium offices will help ensure citizens and clients are not turned away before receiving the services they require. This will assist also in managing queues so that people do not spend a long time waiting to be served.”
It also applies for registration of births, marriages and deaths. After years of inept service from government departments, people are understandably frustrated with some of our structures.
However, if extending operating hours proves to be a success, then surely they need to look at making this more permanent. Yes, resources are always going to be a problem, but if it makes people’s lives easier then surely it needs to be explored.