South Africa

Home Affairs piloting programme to manage queues at its offices

The Department of Home Affairs is piloting a programme in the Eastern Cape to assist in managing long queues at its offices.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed this during an oral question in the National Assembly when he was asked about training his department provided to queue marshals at its offices to ensure that they are capable to perform their function, to assist in the management of long and dysfunctional queues.

Motsoaledi said the department did not have people specifically employed as queue marshals.

“This is due to severe budgetary constraints especially the budget for compensation of employees. What the department is doing is to fill this gap is to utilise front-line office staff to deal with the queues,” he said.

“These staff is trained on a programme called professionalisation of the department,” he said, adding that the programme was aimed to equip officials to be capable of addressing all clients.

“In trying to mobilise queue marshals from elsewhere within the state, we are working with the premier of the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, and the MEC of Cogta from the same province to provide us with Expanded Public Works and Community Development workers to assist as queue officials.

“This programme is being implemented in our East London offices as a pilot, which when successful will be rolled out ,” Motsoaledi said.

But, IFP MP Liezel van der Merwe said despite the war on queues, a visit to the department was still a nightmare experience. She said the pressure could have been alleviated had other service avenues been made available.

She charged that the mobile units experienced mechanical breakdowns and connectivity problems and that the roll-out of the department’s services had been delayed by the department.

Van der Merwe asked if there were plans to increase the more than 100 mobile units and make sure they were always up and running.

Motsoaledi said the problem experienced by the mobile units in rural areas was connectivity, but they were busy installing satellite units in them which have proved to be working. He said the banks would reopen the Home Affairs services from next month.

Motsoaledi said his department’s offices were being leased, unlike the police stations and clinics which were purpose-built.

“One of the solutions is to go to the presidential infrastructure project. We are meeting with leader of the project Dr (Kgosientso) Ramokgoba to make sure that we do something about the offices of Home Affairs Department.”

He also said their offices were modernised in terms of technology, but some were faced with challenges such as electricity disruptions and no connectivity.

“It is difficult to modernise them and things happen manually there that is why the long queues. So we are doing everything from all angles to make sure that problem is solved but it is not something that is secret,” Motsoaledi said.

Political Bureau

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