I don’t know about other countries, but for South Africa, you hear all manner of horror stories about waiting lines and what not. My trip was unfortunately a week or so before elections so the number 1 priority was ID’s for citizens, which I am not complaining about, people need to vote. Actually, I am not complaining at all.
I would like to use this post to appreciate all government workers. Dealing with people daily is not easy. At all. Sometimes people will have prepared before hand and will have all the necessary documentation. Sometimes the information is not readily available and therefore you come empty handed for more information and sometimes it’s the timing that is off, where you need assistance asap but cannot get it because of course you are not the only one who needs assistance.
A few people in the queue complained when some of the officers went on lunch, but we are all human and we need to eat and rest a bit. And more than half the time, if you are still there by lunch…… then you were not there early.
The officers were friendly, which I found remarkable. Not once did I see or hear anyone being treated badly. When my turn eventually came to be assisted, I had all the necessary documents and I was also assisted accordingly.
I was there long, yes, but had I gone a week or so later, and gone there super early. I probably would have been done in an hour.
Some tips if you are visiting a Home Affairs Office in South Africa:
  1. Be early: there will be a long queue of course, but the earlier you get there the sooner you can be assisted. I was late and kicked myself for not waking up early.
  2. Necessary Documentation: make sure you have all the necessary documents including anything that you think you may need. That ensures you will not be sent back.
  3. Patience: you need to be patient, there are a lot of people needing assistance with different things and these things take time. Make sure you have at least 4 hours to spare, just in case.
  4. Smile: no one is against you. The officers are there to assist you, and they are also human. A smile and positive feedback and encouragement will go a long way in their long days.
  5. Do not be rude: The officers are there to assist you, they are people as well. Be kind. Regardless of how frustrated you are, hold your tongue. Put yourself in their shoes. And the other people around you are also there for assistance. Be kind, be nice, be thoughtful, be patient.

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