Havoc as delays in issuing doc


Havoc as delays in issuing documents to South Africans abroad increase

The delays have been referred to as a ‘service delivery failure.’

Havoc as delays in issuing doc


Earlier this week, Darren Bergman, the DA’s Shadow Minister for International Relations and Cooperation as well as Justin Adams, DA Abroad UK Committee Chairperson and Committee member, Rory Jubber, visited the South African Home Affairs offices in London.

According to DA Abroad, the team conducted an oversight visit, prompted by several complaints regarding the delay in receiving documents such as passports, birth certificates and ID books to South African expats.

The ramifications

Upon further investigation, it was revealed that these incidents are not limited to the London offices, but that South Africans living all over the world are affected by these delays.

Some people have had to wait between six and 12 months for documents to be issued. South Africans have had to miss important events or last visits to loved ones as a result of the waiting period for essential documentation to be issued. Many expats have even been denied access to healthcare abroad.

The severe delays also prevented South Africans living abroad from being allowed to vote in the general election in May.

The frustrating process

Once a document has been requested, there is no way of tracking the progress, which means that applicants are experiencing delays without being able to plan. There are reports of the Home Affairs services, such as email and telephone, which are either not working, or go unanswered.

Three letters have been sent to the South African High Commissioner in London, Her Excellency, Nomatemba Tambo, suggesting a meeting in order to try and find a solution to the problem.

A letter has now been issued, stating the intention to escalate the matter and bring it to Parliament.

DA Abroad Leader, Francine Higham reported some of the requirements:

  • A gross reduction on waiting times for civic documents such as passports
  • An improvement in overall efficiency in the handling of documents
  • Implementation of electronic services abroad as well as in South Africa
  • The creation of an online tracking service
  • Access to consular offices via telephone or email