I’VE HEARD OF frustrating Government bureaucracy but nothing compares to what I’ve experienced with the Eastern Cape Department of Labour, specifically its UIF unit in Bisho. For starters, you have to try several times before you reach a person at the end of the phone. Even then, you’ll feel as if you’re lost or talking to the wrong person. People answer as if you’d caught them taking a nap or they’re doing you a favour by answering your call.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve called the department. The query has been the same: a request for an update on a UIF claim my mother made in late 2009 for my late father. We were rushed to make the claim because it would expire after six months from the date of death. Little did we know a year would lapse and the cheque is yet to be deposited, if it will ever be... What’s holding it up is anyone’s guess. All supporting documents were submitted and we’re forever told the claim has been pre-approved.
On one occasion, after several attempts, the person on the other end just picked up the phone and placed it on the desk and continued her conversation with the people she was talking to. Imagine my frustration. I held on for more than five minutes until I realised it wasn’t worth it. I’ve now run out of ideas.