Resident opens case against Edenvale Home Affairs officials after she is allegedly assaulted

Some of the bruises left on Ms Arantes' arm after she was allegedly assaulted by officials at the Edenvale Home Affairs offices.

Edenvale resident, Ms Sandra Arantes, has laid a charge against employees at the Edenvale Home Affairs offices after they allegedly assaulted her on May 2.

“After various failed attempts to collect my passport and identity card, I decided to go on Saturday, May 2, knowing it would be a long wait,” said Ms Arantes.

She arrived at the home affairs offices in Edenvale at 8am, where she joined other residents in the queue.

“At 9.45am, a Home Affairs official came to door and told us to leave. The official said the system was offline and would be offline for the rest of the weekend,” she said.

“Two months earlier, when I applied for my ID card, we had been waiting for more than an hour when we were informed that no photographs could be taken as the system was offline.

“A fellow citizen identified that a plug socket had been switched off and once the “offline” problem had been switched on, we were able to take photos,” said Ms Arantes.

She added that based on her previous experience, she decided to wait a while longer to see if the system would come back online.

“I approached the door, where the Home Affairs officer was standing, blocking the entrance and arrogantly sending people home. I asked her if I could wait inside, seeing that the offices only closed at 12.30pm. She replied with a screeching, no,” she said.

When the officer tried to close the door, Ms Arantes grabbed it and opened it.

“I was yanked, pushed, shoved and thrown around by this woman and then by two security guards,” she said.

When a group of residents shouted at the official and security guards, they released Ms Arantes and she was allowed to go inside.

“Inside was another woman who kept shouting at me in her language. She then screamed in my face that I must be arrested,” said Ms Arantes.

“I agreed and asked her please to call the police as I would have some scratches and bruises to show them,” she said.

Ms Arantes was then told to go to the manager’s offices, where she was offered some water.

“The manager gave me a more detailed explanation as to why the system would be offline, and I was asked to come back on Monday. They would assist me by giving me my passport and ID card without me having to stand in the queue,” she said.

“The manner in which I was treated is totally unacceptable, and as a result, I have a bruised arm and shoulder,” she added.

On Monday last week, when Ms Arantes returned to the Edenvale Home Affairs offices, the leadership team for the department had completed an on-site meeting.

“I was then able to speak to the Gauteng provincial manager, Mr Matsaung, who was helpful and showed me records that the system went down at around 9.40am, but was back online at 10:45am. Furthermore, he said the officials did not have the right to send citizens home as there was no indication that the system was going to be offline for the whole weekend,” she said.

“I also managed to speak to the deputy director general, Mr V Mkhize, who was shocked at the behaviour of the Homes Affairs representative. Both Mr Matsaung and Mr Mkhize said the appropriate action had to be taken to resolve this matter and to prevent future incidents,” said Ms Arantes.

Anyone who witnessed the assault on Ms Arantes, and who would like to make a statement, can contact her on 076 393 4615 or via e-mail at [email protected]

The NEWS sent an enquiry regarding the assault of Ms Arantes to the spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Thabo Mokgola, on Wednesday, May 6.

Comment on the incident was requested by Thursday, May 7.

At the time of going to print, no comment was received.

Charmaine Slater
Senior journalist (Edenvale)

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