DA oversight reveals Home Affairs continue to fail most vulnerable in rural areas

Issued by Angel Khanyile MP and Samantha Graham-Maré MP –
21 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find pictures of the oversight visit here, here and here.

On 19 April 2023, we visited Graaff-Reinet Home Affairs branch in the Eastern Cape, after receiving numerous complaints about disservice from this particular office. Community members, the majority of whom are unemployed, advised that the Graaff-Reinet office is offline most of the time.

Their biggest challenge is confirmed to be the system that is always offline and a dysfunctional generator, which makes it impossible to access any service during load-shedding. Applicants will then be forced to return home without getting the service they require.

Some people travel about 400kms round trip which costs them more than R500, while those who are physically challenged pay R2000 for a round trip to reach these offices, only to be turned away due to the challenges mentioned above.

On our visit we requested a mobile unit to be dispatched to Jansenville to assist applicants. The department failed to make the mobile unit available nor were they able provide reasons for failing to do so.

Our oversight revealed that when the mobile units are dispatched to various areas its network can not connect. We were advised that in one community consultation programme where the department partnered with the local municipality, more than 100 applicants were present, but the department could not capture even one application because the mobile unit failed to connect to the network.

As we conduct more oversights, it becomes evident that these mobile units are not able to perform nor satisfy the purpose they have been procured for.

We call on the department to ensure all mobile units are in good working order, all offices are supplied with working generators to ensure services are not interrupted during load-shedding and that mobile unit schedules are made available to members of the Portfolio Committee to enable us to conduct oversights on these mobile units.

If the department has nothing to hide, they won’t have a problem to furnish us with the mobile units schedule during requested presentation at the next portfolio committee sitting.