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ISSUE 07 | 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Blown away by Home Affairs

If all government departments become like you are, we will improve services in this country no end, said Senior Citizen John Topping, in a Letter to the Editor at Pretoria News, on being blown away by the excellent services received at Home Affairs Pretoria Central Office, this month. This accolade stems, as he puts it, from the fact that the services extended to him by our Colleagues “were, to say the least, very good indeed.”

The elated Senior Citizen had visited the office to apply for a new passport. He “went swiftly through the necessary requirements for the application.” 25 Minutes is what it took to translate into nothing but boundless joy the life of a citizen “over 60” who, contrary to expectation, “did not have to wait a long time to be assisted.”

A cherry on top was the joy of receiving an SMS two days from application, saying the passport was ready for collection. For somebody who has known and heard of the trials and tribulations of the many in the hands of the erstwhile Home Affairs together we are trying to transform, this truly was “good news,” as he admits, worth a celebration.

To our credit, and, undoubtedly, a return on our conscious investment in the Moetapele Initiative, cultivating leaders out of each one of us, Senior Citizen John Topping testified that, “The employees there were courteous, respectful and helpful. A pat on the back to all of them, especially Siphiwe Nhlapo, Richard Molefe and Romeo Motau, keep it up!”

This is precisely what I meant when I told the 13th Home Affairs Leaders Forum recently held in Boksburg, with Leadership through Recognition as the theme, that we can indeed be trailblazers, the ideal models the many would love to see in public servants, anywhere in government.

I’m confident that we have many other dedicated Home Affairs officials across the country whose remarkable deeds are not making the headlines. As I did, in their absence at the 13th Leaders Forum, I would like to extend to all of them the gratitude of the people of South Africa for the excellent work that they are doing, on a daily basis.

We do get feedback from diverse clients and citizens on the conduct and performance of DHA Colleagues, through social media and other platforms – though some of it tends to take on a negative slant. But pockets of excellence everywhere clearly are discernible. Compliments for the Randburg office consistently keep coming through. So does the numberless praises and congratulatory messages we receive for Edenvale, Byron, Commercial in Durban,White River in Mpumalanga, Harrison, Barrack and George.

Colleagues what we need to get right is achieving consistency and standardisation of our services. How come I get a message thanking me for this office, and still get another complaining about treatment in another office? This goes to show obviously some inconsistencies in the services we provide to our clients. It can’t be right that we get feedback on terrible service at the same time getting messages saying “Good work Home Affairs!”

I appreciate greatly the good services of all officials and offices, including those I did not mention. With such splendid work, together we can and will transform this department. There is much to be done, and this we make clear in successive Budget Vote speeches, including the one for 2016/17. We still must connect offices while reaching out to far-flung communities as we did in Vryheid and eMondlo, in Kwazulu-Natal, where we opened two new offices on 1 June. We still must take to its logical conclusion the reimagining of Home Affairs asa modern, digital, secure, custodian of national identity.

I’m certain that all of us would love to be a part of a reimagined Home Affairs about which happy clients would say, “If all government departments become like you are, we will improve services in this country no end.”

A professionalized staff and a new Cadre of Home Affairs we have consistently called for will serve as the glue that holds together the modernisation of our systems and services. For indeed without the services of new Cadres and Baetapele, the likes of Siphiwe Nhlapo, Richard Molefe and Romeo Motau, none of our innovative efforts at change would see the light of day.

So join me therefore in expressing our warmest gratitude to Baetapele Siphiwe Nhlapo, Richard Molefe and Romeo Motau, for putting our department in good stead, through excellent service.

Keep up the good work, Baetapele!

 

Sincerely,

Malusi Gigaba

Minister of Home Affairs