The Bulletin received numerous calls from the public stating that the Department of Home Affairs is closed in Secunda.
These callers stated that some of them even travelled from Ermelo as those offices were closed. Death Certificates were needed as well as birth certificates.
“Families of deceased people are thinking that we are lying when we say that the Home Affair’s offices are closed,” said one undertaker, “what can we do?”
DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Home Affairs and Member of Parliament, Angel Khanyile visited the offices in Standerton as well as Secunda.
“Standerton Offices were in good working order. However, l was saddened by what l discovered at Secunda offices, the offices were locked and Home Affairs delegated their responsibility to security officers who were sitting outside and telling everyone that the office is closed because Home Affairs were instructed by the Union NOT to operate because they did not have PPE.” Said Angel, “In the previous Portfolio Committee the Minister and the Deputy Minister presented to us that they were ready, that PPE and Sanitisers were sent to ALL their offices and were ready to open, but reality proved otherwise.
We have pledged our support to the governing party as we believe the fight against COVID-19 need all of us working together.
Members of the community, as well as officials, need to be protected against this virus, l was saddened when I saw two women who had to travel from Ermelo to Secunda to get a death certificate using public transport, simply because the Ermelo Offices were closed, only to find the Secunda offices closed as well.
We will escalate this matter and find solutions that will be in the best interest of the community.”
The Democratic Alliance released a press statement in this regard.
Here is the full statement:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has been informed that Home Affairs offices in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Kwazulu Natal as well as the Western Cape have been closed either due to a lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or due to Covid-19 infections.
We call on the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to urgently get his house in order and ensure that his Department provides critical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to its employees at client-facing offices.
The Department promised that all of its offices will be operating between 08:00 and 16:00 on weekdays to render essential services. However, the Department surely cannot expect, employees to conduct these services, without PPE. The lack of PPE not only put the employees’ health at risk but also the health of their families and the public.
Home Affairs staff are front line workers who are exposed to the Covid-19 virus every day.
It is horrifying that the Department is failing to provide them with the protective equipment they need to safely and effectively carry out their tasks.
Closing a department responsible for the important task of issuing birth certificates and death certificates which are needed during this time is deeply concerning. People who want to bury their loved ones have been left in the lurch with no possibility of getting death certificates.
The DA will write to Minister Motsoaledi, to find out what his department is doing to address the safety of frontline staff and what measures are being put in place to ensure that Home Affairs offices that are and have been closed are reopened safely in a way that will not compromise the health and safety of staff and expose them to occupational risks.
By failing to provide the necessary protective equipment the Department is failing not only its employees but millions of South Africans who rely on the essential services provided by Home Affairs.
The DA calls on the Minister to address these matters without delay so that grieving families, in particular, will not be kept waiting and incurring unnecessary expenses due to the Department’s failure to carry out its obligations.