People queue outside the Tongaat Home Affairs branch yesterday. Leon Lestrade African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Just a day after the Home Affairs department announced there would be extended working hours at some branches, hundreds of people queuing at the Tongaat branch yesterday complained of waiting for several hours.

When The Mercury visited the branch yesterday, angry members of the public complained that there was no communication from staff and no system in place to ensure fairness of entry.

Some said they had been waiting since 5am, while others were allowed to “just walk in”.

One man said the staff at the branch all needed to be replaced.

“Some people who were not in the line walk around the back of the building and the next minute we see them waiting inside, while we wait in the line and they let four people in every 45 minutes,” he said.

A woman in the queue ahead said: “When we talk to the guards and tell them what’s going on, they pretend like they can’t hear us.”

Another man, who said he had been waiting in the line for seven hours, had complained to a manager but nothing had been done.

“I was complaining to the manager about people cutting the line, but he was asking me to inform him when it happens. I had just informed him,” he said.

Another person, who arrived at 10am, said there was no communication from the staff and they were not given numbers. “I don’t mind waiting here for hours if I know that I will be helped, but I don’t want to wait here for ages and then be sent away. I’ve also heard stories of people entering through the back of the building,” she said.

Another woman said the conditions were very bad, with no shade available and no benches. “I’ve been here so long that I got soaked by the rain this morning and then had to deal with the blistering heat,” she said.

By 5.30pm there were still about 100 people queuing outside and staff told them they were unable to accept more people.

“We spent the whole day here and have to go back to work tomorrow. If we aren’t helped, a whole day has been wasted,” said a man who had been queuing since 5am.

A request for comment was sent to the Department of Home Affairs communications officer, David Hlobane but he had not responded by the time of publishing.

The Mercury