Durban - A Facebook post about robberies outside the Department of Home Affairs office in Pinetown has been shared more than 1000 times, and attracted over 400 reactions and 150 comments.
Colleen Reed was prompted to write the piece after she and a friend, Brenda Cox, had gone to the office to fetch Reed’s passport last week.
While there they witnessed and heard of six robberies and attempted robberies outside the office.
On returning home, Reed wrote a lengthy Facebook post, detailing the events.
Speaking to the Daily News, Reed said she wrote the post to alert people to the criminal elements at the Home Affairs offices.
Reed said the situation was apparently far worse in the mornings than in the afternoons.
She said that while she was there, a couple were robbed of their cellphones and a wallet, a man was robbed of his cellphone while getting out of a taxi, a family of three were robbed of their wallet and cellphones at knifepoint while getting out of their car, another woman had her cellphone snatched and another couple were attacked and robbed of their belongings.
While inside the office, Reed and her friend heard of a man who was robbed of his cellphone while standing on the roof section of the office.
“I am just so concerned about the poor people who get up early to get to Home Affairs and then they are subjected to this.
“They have to carry cash to pay for services because they (the Home Affairs offices) don’t have card machines, apparently,” she said.
Reed said she approached the Home Affairs security officer, who said they did not guard the queues outside.
She said the Department of Home Affairs should hire security for outside the offices or ask to have a mobile police station nearby.
“They (Home Affairs) should be responsible and take care of the people in their department. I don’t know what it will take will someone have to be stabbed and killed?” she asked.
Department spokesperson Thabo Mokgola said they were aware of the situation at the Pinetown office and had referred it to the law enforcement agencies in the area.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said they had not received any recent reports of criminal activities at the Home Affairs office, but police were constantly patrolling the area to prevent crime.
Pinetown Sector 3 CPF chairperson Tony Wardle said they could take up the Home Affairs issue with the sector commander, and it would then be brought up at CPF meetings and with the station commander.
He added that they could also raise the matter with the ward councillor or write a letter to the Department of Home Affairs.