Many Bloemfontein residents have said that the service at the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) office in Rocklands is unacceptable and appalling.
While some have praised the department for the speedy delivery of passports, Smart ID cards and other documents, residents have stated that applying for these documents is the most daunting part of the process, owing to several issues.
Among the grievances residents mentioned are the fact the office sometimes opens late owing to management meetings and the slow service. The system being offline and some residents being sent back home as there are often too many people to help, are among some of the most popular concerns raised.
Long queues remain, however, the worst of the complaints, with many saying that they arrive at the offices as early as 06:00, while the office opens at 07:30, only to wait for hours in the queue and eventually receive help around 11:00.
These complaints have led to numerous calls for a second office, perhaps this time in Bloemfontein’s City Centre.
DHA spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete, said that while Minister Melusi Gigaba announced over two weeks ago that it would be declaring war on long queues, it needs residents to be a bit more patient as the process would not be one that takes place overnight. “We made the announcement that we would be declaring war on queues a little over two weeks ago. I think it would be unfair to expect that at that time something would have been done. It’s a bit of a high expectation but we are working on this process and we have requested that citizens be patient with us in the process,” Tshwete said.
In his statement on Sunday 22 April, Gigaba officially stated that the department would be embarking on a “War on Queues” campaign. Gigaba revealed a few interventions that the department would be rolling out in line with its aim to drastically reduce queues as DHA centres around the country. He said that offices had been divided into green, yellow and red status according to their current performance and as such performance ratings and management interventions would be rolled out at all red offices.
Tshwete was unable to provide clarity on what the Bloemfontein’s DHA office status is at the moment and said he would soon provide Voice with the information upon its receipt on his end.
At the time of going to print of this article, Tshwete had not yet provided clarity on whether the office is one of the better-performing ones in the country (green) or whether it was moderate in its performance (orange) and needed to pay attention to certain key areas or whether it was one of those (red), where urgent interventions would be needed.