Written warnings, but no further action against chatty home affairs duo

21 January 2019 - 07:37 By TimesLIVE
Two home affairs department officials who used a break in service due to a power outage to attend to personal business have received slaps on the wrists.
Two home affairs department officials who used a break in service due to a power outage to attend to personal business have received slaps on the wrists.
Image: iStock

Two home affairs department officials who were spotted talking on their cellphones during work hours have been given a lifeline following an investigation by the department.

The incident was shared on social media, prompting a departmental probe.

One was arranging for a child to be picked up from school and the other official was following up on repairs to his vehicle, they told the department. 

The officials work at the front desk at the Tongaat office in KwaZulu-Natal. They were on their phones in full view of waiting customers on January 10 2019.

“During the investigation, which included interviewing officials, it was established that the office experienced a power failure on the day leading to a break in service that lasted for approximately 20 minutes. Officials resumed work and served clients as soon as the system was restored,” the department said.

The officials said they used the break in service to attend to personal emergencies.

“The officials acknowledged their mistake and voluntarily apologised for the misjudgment. Since there are no pending misconduct cases or investigations against them, and they render services diligently, it was concluded that they be given a written warning for their actions.”

The department added:  “On the basis of the findings and recommendations, a second chance is justifiable.”

This is not the first time officials from the department have been accused of slacking while on duty. Last year, a Home Affairs official at the Beit Bridge border post was nabbed amusing herself on WhatsApp and Facebook instead of attending to clients.

A week ago, parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee chairperson Hlomani Chauke called on the department to consider banning frontline staff from using cellphones during working hours because of the numerous complaints the committee had received from the public about delays at home affairs offices.


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