Anger and frustration mounts as Home Affairs system failure continues

10 August 2018 - 16:33 By Naledi Shange
Scores of people have been left frustrated by a system failure at Home Affairs.
Scores of people have been left frustrated by a system failure at Home Affairs.

The Home Affairs blackout has been an absolute nightmare for the scores of people who were still waiting in winding queues on Friday afternoon – and this after others had simply walked out believing they would not be helped.

One woman said her husband had joined the queue for her at the Home Affairs offices in Umgeni Road‚ Durban‚ at 4.30am. But by 3pm‚ more than 11 hours later‚ she had yet to get any assistance.

At 3.30pm‚ those in the queue were sent home.

“They have not processed one application today but I have managed to move forward because other people ahead of me [have been] leaving throughout the day‚” said Megan Savides.

The official Government of South Africa account on Twitter announced that the failure was due to a massive power supply outage at State Information Technology Agency‚ but according to Savides‚ there was hardly any communication to the people waiting in the queues.

Frustrations were mounting.

“There has been almost no contact from any Home Affairs rep or employee.

“They have been very unhelpful‚ showing their frustration with people’s questions without giving any real feedback when asking whether we have any chance of being seen to today‚” she added.

Others had turned to social networking site Twitter to beg for an intervention from the top brass of the department.

“Driving for 60km times two to do death certificate and you find computers offline. ‘Drive back home and come back Monday’. Minister of Home Affairs‚ pls assist us [sic]‚” tweeted one person.

He described the experience as painful.

For many‚ the greatest frustration was this amounted to a wasted day.

“I left after three hours and it was still offline. Went to Sandton branch same story. Home Affairs really is letting us down. I took day off but now it's useless. I must again request employer for a day off‚” one person said. 

The Home Affairs Department’s own Twitter account was mum about the developments until after 3pm on Friday when it confirmed that all their offices were unable to render any services.

“Offices are unable to render all services due to HANIS (Home Affairs National Identification System)‚ National Population Register and Live Capture systems that are not working‚” the department tweeted.

Department spokesman Thabo Mokgola told TimesLIVE that they were doing all they could to fix the problem speedily.