The Department of Home Affairs in Tongaat has come under fire from the public for its alleged snail’s pace service.
A businessman who wished to remain anonymous claimed he waited in the snaking queue in the scorching heat on Tuesday, 2 October, and left five hours later without being attended to.
The company owner was in the queue at 5.45am to renew his passport. He said he intends jetting to Dubai and India for Christmas and if he does not get a new passport, he will not be able to purchase the flight tickets and make accommodation arrangements overseas. According to the businessman when he joined the queue, there were 70 people before him.
“The people of all walks of life must have been there from as early as 3.30am onwards. It is possible that some people may have slept near there from the previous night so that they could be in the first batch of people to be processed,” he said. According to the businessman, as the clocked ticked, children and adults became restless.
“The heat was sizzling. There was no shade to take cover from the scorching heat. It was a dangerous period for those stricken with diabetes, cardiac failure and other serious medical conditions,” he said.
He remarked he had no qualms that the aged, disabled people in wheelchairs and crutches and heavily pregnant women were whisked away from the queue into the processing areas. “That was the right thing to do. To however make others wait in the queue for hours and not to keep people abreast of developments is ridiculous and unacceptable. According to him, a woman in front of him had a restless child.
“The queue hardly moved. The girl aged about three cried and was restless. There was no respite from the heat. I left the queue and bought her a packet of chips. That helped to calm her down,” he said.
He said he left the queue for good after five hours of his time was wasted.
“I thought that the most it would take to have my passport renewed was about an hour or so. It turned out to be a futile exercise. The management and staff there seemed to be cut off from what was happening on the ground. They did not have the courtesy to speak to the irritated people in the long queue.”
Comment from Thabo Mokgola, the national Home Affairs media spokesman, was not forthcoming at the time of going to press.