Akifile Nono lost his wallet with his bank cards and his new smart ID card nearly two weeks ago. The 24-year-old unemployed man from Witsand went to the Home Affairs office in Atlantis on Friday. It’s the nearest Home Affairs office to his home about 10km away. He left at 8:15am and got there at 9:50am.
When he got there he was told to go back home because the office had been shut down by the Department of Labour.
Inspectors sealed off the offices on October 23‚ after finding the building not suitable for human occupation. Its derelict state contravened the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
We visited the offices at the same time as Nono and saw several people being turned away. A notice bearing a Department of Home Affairs stamp‚ placed on the main entrance door says:
“Please note that Home Affairs have been closed by the Department of Labour inspectors due to the conditions of the building. We do not have the opening date and we apologise for the interruptions on service delivery.
By: Home Affairs Management”
The stamp was dated October 30.
Underneath the Home Affairs notice was a Department of Labour notice dated October 23. The notice prohibited the Department of Home Affairs from occupying the building as it threatened the health and safety of “persons”.
A security guard at the main door told the Home Affairs clients that they should go back home and showed them the two notices.
Some‚ like Louisa Damon‚ came from as far as Darling on the West Coast. “I came to collect my ID. I don’t know what to do‚” she said.
Eva Davids lives in Witsand’s Omongeza informal settlement. “I am beyond angry. I walk up and down and each time I get here they say it’s still closed‚” she said.
The derelict building is owned by the City of Cape Town. It is deteriorating because of neglect. Home Affairs officials‚ who only agreed to speak on condition that their names be withheld as policy prohibits them from talking to the media‚ said they had been working in this bad environment for a while.
They said inside the offices‚ the toilets were not working and there was no potable water and the paint was peeling off.
Department of Labour spokesperson Teboho Thejane confirmed that an inspection was done on October 23 and a prohibition and contravention notice was served.
Thejane said the building was closed because of dysfunctional toilets‚ electricity problems‚ damp walls and ceiling‚ unmaintained fire equipment‚ no drinking water and obstruction of fire exits.
BY PETER LUHANGA‚ GROUNDUP – TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital