Home Af­fairs staff ex­cel

New man­ager hailed for im­prove­ment at lo­cal of­fice


STAFF mem­bers at the city’s con­tro­ver­sial Home Af­fairs of­fice have re­ceived heaps of praise af­ter go­ing the ex­tra mile to help cus­tomers this week.

The Church Street of­fice, which nor­mally shuts its doors at 3.30 pm ev­ery day, stayed open un­til 6 pm on Mon­day to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple who had been queue­ing out­side.

Pi­eter­mar­itzburg res­i­dent Moonyean Smit praised the newly­ap­pointed of­fice man­ager, Xolani Ma­phu­mulo, and his staff for go­ing beyond the call of duty.

Ma­phu­mulo spoke to peo­ple still in the queue at clos­ing time and as­sured them that they would all be served.

“I was one of the 40 peo­ple out­side. I left at 5.40 pm and they were still serv­ing peo­ple,” said Smit.

“He [the man­ager] was the one is­su­ing the num­bers and help­ing to print pho­to­graphs. It was very ad­mirable that they kept their word and served ev­ery­one.”

She added: “I can­not be­lieve that he ac­tu­ally man­aged to con­vince his staff, and they stayed and fin­ished.

“Ev­ery sin­gle per­son was helped and we were all very im­pressed. He de­serves a medal in my opin­ion.”

She said the staff at­tended to all the pa­trons with­out any com­plaints.

The of­fice has fre­quently fea­tured in the pages of The Wit­ness be­fore, but al­most al­ways be­cause of peo­ple’s un­hap­pi­ness with the ser­vice there. The main com­plaints have cen­tred on the length of the queues and the ap­a­thetic staff.

Ma­phu­mulo is de­ter­mined to change all that. Speak­ing yes­ter­day, he com­mit­ted to make ev­ery ef­fort to turn­ing the of­fice into a well­oiled ma­chine.

“The ser­vice will im­prove enor­mously. We are cur­rently deal­ing with the bot­tle­necks down­stairs and try­ing to es­tab­lish what is caus­ing the long queues,” he said. “We want to en­sure that the queues move faster so we can help more peo­ple.”

Ma­phu­mulo was sec­onded by the Depart­ment of Home Af­fairs’ provin­cial man­age­ment from its Ix­opo of­fice.

He took over the reins last Mon­day and said the of­fice was mak­ing small strides to­wards im­prov­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery.

Ini­tially, the Church Street of­fice only had one in­for­ma­tion counter and yes­ter­day a se­cond was in op­er­a­tion. A third is in the pipe­line.

“We iden­ti­fied that the hold­up was at the in­for­ma­tion counter. It is the first point where peo­ple check if they are il­leg­i­ble to ap­ply and if their doc­u­ments are in or­der,” said Ma­phu­mulo.

He ac­knowl­edged that a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge was in deal­ing with first­time ID smart card and pass­port ap­pli­ca­tion queues.

To en­sure that op­er­a­tions run ef­fi­ciently, he checks the queues ev­ery hour.

“What we want to en­cour­age is that we as­sist peo­ple un­til the last per­son has left. We will deal with how we com­pen­sate for ex­tra hours af­ter the peo­ple have been served.”

In fu­ture, the of­fice will op­er­ate strictly on a num­ber sys­tem.

“We know our ca­pac­ity a day is 250,” he said.

If more peo­ple turn up “we will be trans­par­ent and ask peo­ple to visit other Home Af­fairs of­fices nearby in­stead of sit­ting in the queue and not get helped”.


Home Af­fairs staff who went beyond the call of duty on Mon­day to as­sist pa­trons who were queue­ing out­side their of­fice. New man­ager Xolani Ma­phu­mulo is on the right.

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