The chairperson of the parliament portfolio committee on home affairs, Hlomani Chauke, has urged the department of home affairs to consider an outright ban on cellphone usage by frontline staff during working hours at all home affairs offices. Chauke said the ban should be enforced because of the numerous complaints the committee had received from the public about delays at home affairs offices.
“It is unacceptable that the public [spends] excessive amounts of time at home affairs offices, while officials spend a disproportionate amount of time busy with their cellphones. Officials are primarily employed to offer a service and the complaints point to dereliction of duty by some officials, yet they continue to draw a salary at the end of the month,” Chauke said.
The chairperson of the committee said it was also concerning that these practices had been witnessed at ports of entry across the country, which gave a bad impression to visitors when they arrived in the country.
“A guiding framework on the use of cellphones at front desks must be drafted and implemented across the country to ensure standardisation. The framework must also include guidelines for how officials can be contacted in cases of family emergencies,” Chauke said.
“Public and “professional” service must improve and is is based on adherence to Batho Pele principles, which call for high-quality service and courtesy. Is important to put measures in place to encourage and, where necessary, enforce adherence to these principles,” he added. Espeecially if there are long queues. Officials to be at their desks offering services they were employed to do.