Home Affairs Minister must update Parliament on progress of addressing long queues

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP – DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs
12 May 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Angel Khanyile MP.

The DA will write to the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs, Mosa Chabane, to call Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to urgently appear before Parliament to report on progress made in upgrading the network system in various Home Affairs branches as previously promised.

On 11 May 2022, the DA conducted oversight at the Home Affairs branch at Barack Street in Cape Town to ascertain whether the Department is winning the war on queues as was promised at a number of portfolio committee meetings.

It was very clear during the oversight that the Department’s system to address long queues has broken down. We were greeted by long queues of people hoping to apply for identity documents and passports, to register new births and to collect their documents.

A number of community members advised that they arrived as early at 05:00 and by 10:00 they were still waiting outside in the queue. Some people told the DA that this was their third visit to try their luck in getting the important documents as they had previously been turned away by Department officials before 15:00.

It further became evident that their safety was compromised, as there was one man who kept hurling insults at them, while the security failed to intervene.

During the DA’s visit, one photo booth crashed and another was slow. We were advised that the cause was the network that was offline and they were waiting for an IT representative to come and assist. This caused further stagnation in the queue.

Applicants also alleged that certain individuals were charging community members R300 to skip the queue. Those who cannot afford to pay this bribe, are disadvantaged. This is a clear indication of a broken system – outsiders have identified a loophole to exploit community members because the Department has dismally failed to develop a queuing system.

A private company has also seen a business opportunity in hiring out chairs for R10 to applicants waiting in the hours-long queues.

The Department of Home Affairs must ensure that people engaging their services are not just safe from exploitation and harm, but also helped in a timeous manner. Numerous oversights to various Home Affairs branches across the country have revealed the same problems. It is time the Minister and his Department take the myriad of concerns seriously and implement plans to ensure these issues are addressed.