Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele presents employee Nosipho Mkhupheka with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates after she was praised by the public for going beyond the call of duty.
DURBAN - An employee from the Scottburgh Department of Home Affairs has become an overnight social media sensation after her exemplary work ethic garnered her both community praise and a special visit by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Siyabonga Cwele.

Nosipho Mkhupheka made Facebook headlines last week when she stayed after normal office hours to help 40 people who had been waiting in line. This was after all her colleagues had left.

Taking to Facebook, resident Marius Botha praised Mkhupheka for going beyond the call of duty.

“Mrs Mkhupheka stayed and helped the last 40 customers all on her own, and with a smile on her face!!! You are my hero. South Africa needs more people like you. Thank you. We salute you,” read the Facebook post, which has been shared 12 000 times.

During Cwele’s unannounced visit on Monday, he congratulated Mkhupheka.

Speaking during the visit, Mkhupheka said that when she left her house each morning, she put herself in the shoes of the people who visited the Home Affairs office.

“I greet them and regularly communicate with them,” she said.

Mkhupheka has been the supervisor at the Scottburgh offices since 2012.

NOSIPHO Mkhupheka, 52, a civic supervisor at the Home Affairs Scottburgh office, regularly goes outside to check how long the lines are and greet people.

She acknowledged that even though she was in the spotlight, she would not be able to serve the way she did without the support of her team and managers.

“I thank God for giving me the passion, energy and love to serve the citizens,” Mkhupheka said. Even ANC head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, praised Mkhupheka on Twitter, saying “give her promotion minister good work”.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary portfolio committee on Home Affairs has welcomed the report that the use of cellphones by front-desk staff during working hours had been banned, after trade unions opposed this.

This follows the call made by the committee early this year for the complete banning of cellphones as they impacted on the quality of the service rendered to clients.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) had said that the use of cellphones by front-desk staff had been the subject of discussions between labour and the employer in the bargaining chamber in order to ensure it was managed without infringing workers’ rights.

“It is now clear that the usage of cellphones is banned and clients must not be faced with this challenge when they seek services at the Department of Home Affairs,” said Hlomani Chauke, the chairperson of the committee.

The committee last month received numerous complaints from the public about delays at Home Affairs offices following a video that surfaced on social media showing two officials using their cellphones while people waited in a queue at the Home Affairs offices in Tongaat.