Long queues, hard benches and uninformative posters have been the order of the day at the local Department of Home Affairs (DHA). However, now there is a new forum to alleviate these frustrations.
The forum was implemented under the directive of the Minister of Home Affairs Nkosasana Zuma, and is intended to resolve any complaints and concerns that members of the public and staff members at
the DHA may have in the process of obtaining documents. “We welcomed the idea, because Home Affairs have been failing us,” said Andisa Meltafa, the chairperson of the forum. The five members of the forum were elected by local government, the DHA and loca lNGOs.
It was felt that these bodies are closest to people at grassroots level and can best understand the needs of the community. For example, Meltafa is the local community development officer and has referred people to the DHA to resolve issues on numerous occasions in the past.
They aim to forge a better and more effective working relationship between the DHA and other affected bodies.District Manager Xolile Sibejele is excited about the forum but notes that it still needs to be workshopped. He said the forum must know the workings of Home Affairs.
“We can expect to see tangible results by mid- September,” he added. Forums exist within local municipalities such as Makana and municipal regions like Cacadu.
A useful aspect of these forums is that the chair and deputy chair of all the forums nationwide have a direct telephone line to the Minister of Home Affairs.
Sebejeli explained that the latter are for matters of urgency only and should not be abused. In addition, according to Meltafa, the forum is campaigning for the rerecruitment of previously employed and trained temporary workers, who were released as a result of lack of funds.
Meltafa said the forum aspires to ensure that community members have the necessary documents and information to conclude applications speedily.