Early closing times cause confusion

By Stephan Lehman

Alleged poor service and confusion left Edenvale community members up in arms at the Edenvale Home Affairs Office.

In the past few weeks the NEWS has received a number of complaints about the operating hours of the office.

Community members claim that the offices close earlier than the stipulated 4pm stated on the home affairs website.

One email sent to the NEWS stated that residents were turned away from the offices at 2.30pm.

Also read: Home affairs staff impress resident

Gary Potgieter said he was almost turned away from the offices by security personnel, on July 20.

He said that although he and his family arrived at 3.10pm, the security officer would not let him and his family in.

Potgieter said nine people were waiting outside and they were all frustrated after being denied access.

The guards gave Potgieter conflicting reasons. First they said the offices were closed and then they said no more people were allowed into the building.

“This was the first time I experienced an incident like this but it was not the first time I had arrived at home affairs after 3pm,” said Potgieter.

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

He said there were no signs stating offices would be closed earlier.

After talking to the guards, Potgieter and his family were allowed in, but were not assisted.

As soon as they were in, the doors were shut and locked behind them.

Once inside, Potgieter spoke to the manager of the Edenvale offices, Tsakani Hlungwani, who informed him there was a labour dispute at the offices.

The manager told Potgieter that staff were not getting paid overtime and as a result, would not work overtime.

Potgieter said he understands the rights of the staff but called for better communication from the department.

He urged them to put up signs to inform the community of the early closure.

Hlungwani told the NEWS that operating hours for the Edenvale officer are between 8am and 3.30pm.

Also read: Edenvale Home Affairs goes digital

She explained that community members are turned away when the offices experience an “influx of clients which is beyond the capacity of what the office can manage in a day.”

Hlungwani said the time chosen to cut the queue is determined by the number of people already in the queue waiting for service.

“This is clearly communicated to clients on arrival. It will be unprofessional to allow people to wait knowing that we will not be able to serve them by the end of the day,” said Hlungwani.

Hlungwani confirmed that there is a labour dispute but this is about officials working on Saturday.

“Due to the labour dispute the offices are currently not operating on Saturdays until an agreement is reached,” said Hlungwani.

Because community members from Edenvale make use of the office, Hlungwani said to avoid the stress of being turned away community members should make use of the e-home affairs service.

Hlungwani invited all SA citizens living in Edenvale to apply for their smart ID cards at the branch.

Edenvale Home Affairs goes digital


Stephan Lehman

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