Sunday Tribune

Umlazi man cleverly sitting on his laurels


WINDING queues at Home Affairs offices, especially in Umgeni Road, Durban, are a source of frustratio­n for many – but for others this has opened up business opportunit­ies.

Sbu Ngcobo of umlazi, who refused to be photograph­ed, rents out chairs for R5 to people in Umgeni Road who’re waiting to apply for documents.

While a relief for some, others were fuming and accused the department of “neglecting” them.

Steven Morris of Morningsid­e, who was applying for a passport, said: “Why should I pay for a chair. Home Affairs must get rid of this because people are taking advantage of us.”

Dorren Mkhize, 62, from Kwamashu, northern Durban, echoed Morris’s sentiments, adding that Home Affairs should provide benches.

“I’m a pensioner and these people want me to pay R5 for a chair. I’m sorry, I don’t have that money. I would rather add another R5 and buy bread for my grandchild­ren.”

Mkhize accompanie­d her grandchild, Mbuso Buthelezi, who was applying for his ID.

An estimated 100 chairs were seen at the centre.

Despite the outrage, some of the people were happy.

Thandazile Khumalo said: “I would rather part with R5 than have sore feet. People stand here for hours while waiting for this centre to open. These people are trying to make a living by renting out chairs. They are not doing anything wrong.”

Narend Chetty from Windermere said: “The first thing I did was hire a chair. Standing for hours is difficult. But I believe Home Affairs can do better in this regard.”

Ngcobo said he saw an opportunit­y and grabbed it.

“People come here as early as 4am and wait until the doors open at 8am. It is painful. So I decided to bring them chairs so that they could sit while waiting for the centre to open.”

The Sunday Tribune visited various centres including in Dr AB Xuma (Commercial) Road.

There were no chairs. The Umgeni centre seemed to be the only branch that had people renting out chairs.

Director-general Mkhuseli Apleni said the department would not intervene because Ngcobo’s business happened outside its office.

“What is happening outside our offices is not in my control. You can’t expect me to go outside to people who are renting out chairs outside our offices. But I have total control inside,” Mkhuseli said.

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