ARE YOU A SOUTH AFRICAN?
This is what I was asked when I went to the Home Affairs offices in Tongaat, north of Durban, today to apply for my Smart ID.
I inturn asked the lady official at the counter, "what do you think?"
"We have a lot of people who are Asians and Africans who come to apply for South African identity documents. That's why I have to ask you whether you are a South African?," said the official.
I told her in no uncertain terms that I don't take lightly to be questioned about whether I am a South African or not?
"You should know for yourself whether I am a South African or not through my identity document. We fought for this freedom of ours and you are now trying to question my South African identity," I informed her.
I then asked her: "Would you question any other South Africans about their citizenship?"
She then went onto say something about "Indians" and I hit back:
"I am a South African, not an Indian."
She looked at me puzzled and just said: "O'h".
I know that the new South Africa is undergoing all kinds of education problems but I do sincerely hope that those who are employed in Government offices have a thorough and proper understanding of South Africa.
Minister Malusi Gigaba
I went to the Home Affairs office in Tongaat on a day when Minister Malusi Gigaba was interviewed on SAFM for about an hour on the "good" work that is being done to improve service delivery. He went at extreme lengths to re-assure the people that his department is making tremendous progress in its service delivery/
But what we found in Tongaat was pathetic to say the least. When my wife and I arrived at the office at about 1pm, we found the place packed to capacity. There was no one around to tell us which line to follow or queue to apply for our new Smart ID card. I had to ask around and one of the security officials informed me that I should wait at one of desks where number tickets would be issued for one to get a photo taken and to follow the queue to the Smart ID counter.
The official manning the desk was not around and we had to wait for at least half-an-hour before someone came around to issue the tickets. From there we had to move to another line for the photos to be taken. But here the official concerned was struggling with the computer and we had to wait for at least an hour before the computer started operating once again.
Then it was another long wait - some people had been waiting from 10am. Many of the people in the queue were so frustrated that they preferred to leave and return another day.
The frustrations suffered by the people was mainly due to the fact that there were only two clerks attending to the people.
When my ticket number was called I inquired from one of the senior officials what was all the problem about.
"O'h we don't have enough people. The Government does not want us to employ more people," he said.
Poor Mr Gigaba! He must be really having a tough time trying to get his officials to deliver a decent and acceptable service to the people - the taxpayers who pay his salary and that of his officials. Don't forget we also pay for all the extravagant luxuries and other perks.