The miraculous transformation of Home Affairs – the turning of a sceptic

It’s been almost a decade since I last spent an extended period at the Home Affairs offices in Randburg. It provided a first hand opportunity to test anecdotal evidence from different quarters that there had been an amazing transformation. I arrived as a sceptic, but left well and truly converted.

On my last visit, the complex was a mass of informal traders offering everything from photographs to speeded up execution of documentation. The corruption was everywhere and pretty blatant –  I witnessed notes changing hands between an official and one of the many opportunists who preyed on the inefficiencies.

Although yesterday’s visit required a couple hours, the processes were slick enough to be exported into the First World. With a single exception – you can only pay with cash, although the fault seems to lie with Absa whose branded credit card machine hasn’t worked for ages.

Some years back FeverTree Consulting’s Sven de Kock explained in some detail how his team were helping to fix Home Affairs. My cynicism has turned to admiration. Properly motivated public private partnerships can produce miracles. Hope springs.

An email response from Dean Barclay

Love your newsletters. They always start my day.

Read your article and noted the reference to Absa card machine.

It is not my area, not my product space but I believe to make our product, business and country better we have to help to make things better even if they do not directly impact us.

I forwarded your note to the team.

They sent a technician out this morning and found and restored the system.

With dedication like this – Hope Springs

Another email response from Debbie

I am glad to hear that there is this improvement in home affairs. I had a distressing visit to the licensing department in Marlboro yesterday to renew my licence and had a very different experience. The car park was rid of photographers and peddlers etc as you mention at home affairs and the front line workers were doing their jobs perfectly, but I had a fica query and they referred me to their supervisor who on my first visit at 11.30 was eating a gourmet (fast food) spread, all spread on her piles of documents waiting for some sort of action. On my second visit after obtaining the correct documentation I was asked to see her again and went to her office to find her fast asleep on her desk. I was horrified and can understand how this lack of motivation will filter into the organisation. We can only hope for the corruption to be eradicated here too.

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