Three Cape Town Home Affairs offices close over protective gear demands
Angry residents shouted and demanded staff, open the gates of the Khayelitsha branch.
A resident, who did not want to be named said he had been waiting to be assisted since 8am.
“We received messages to come and collect our IDs but when we got here we were told that employees were not working.
“One of the clients even went home to fetch a box of gloves so that we could be assisted but the employees refused to take them,” he said.
The frustrated man said the most vulnerable were not prioritised by the department.
Office manager Santo Mohapeloa said clients could not be assisted because employees raised concerns about their health.
He said for the past two weeks, they were using gloves that they received from local hospitals and they had run out.
“This is an extraordinary situation and people need to think of others as well.
“I would want to assist clients, but without the gear I might be affecting the same person that I’m assisting,” Mohapeloa said.
He said clients should try to understand that safety measures were also for their benefit.
Home Affairs provincial manager Yusuf Simons said he was aware that Wynberg, Bellville and Khayelitsha offices were closed as workers from all three offices refused to continue without the necessary kits.
“We had to buy the kits from chemists at exorbitant prices,” he said.
Simons said a delivery of equipment was expected yesterday and a second batch today from Gauteng.
“We are expecting another big order within the next seven days,” he said.
Nehawu representative Ayanda Pendze, said members had to protect themselves before assisting people.
He said the union supported the decision to stop working as it was necessary.
If the union received any protective gear they would gladly be distributing this to the workers, Pendze said.