Eshowe Home Affairs office back on track after riots

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs says it is satisfied with civic service operations at the Eshowe Home Affairs office following the damage caused by recent riots.

The committee conducted an inspection at the Eshowe office on Monday, as part of its oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal to assess the extent of damage caused by riots to three Home Affairs offices in Eshowe, Impendle and Vulamehlo.

The committee wanted to assess the impact on delivery of civic services, as at one stage during the riots, 58 Home Affairs offices in KwaZulu-Natal were closed. The offices have since reopened.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza told the committee that during the looting of shops, Home Affairs offices, which are situated in shopping malls, were affected the most, as staff could not go to work.

The riots also affected some services at immigration points, including the airport, border control points and the harbour, as some staff could not get to their offices. However, these stations remained open.

While the offices were closed, communities were notified to register births and deaths at their nearest Department of Health facility.

The Eshowe office, which caters to more than 350 000 people from Eshowe, Nkandla and Melmoth, was damaged to the extent that the main entrance doors, windows and security gates were broken. Computers, scanners and other equipment were also stolen, bringing services to a halt.

The office has a modernised system which delivers services such as Smart Identity Cards. The machine for identity cards was also stolen.

Acting committee chairperson, Mosa Chabane, commended the speed with which the department officials got offices fully functional again.

“The staff was able to source equipment and machines from other offices, and today whilst the committee was there, they were setting up the Smart Card machine.

“The staff, led by the Deputy Minister, were involved in the cleaning up of the offices. We are optimistic that the department is committed to render their civic services fully operational, and commend them for their dedication and commitment to the affected communities,” Chabane said on Monday.

The committee will on Tuesday continue with its oversight visit to the Impendle office in Umgungundlovu District.

Committee visits small businesses and informal traders 

Meanwhile, the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development, together with the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour will from Tuesday undertake a two-day fact-finding visit in KwaZulu-Natal.

The purpose of the visit is to assess damage; understand the needs of entrepreneurs and organisations, and find means of intervention tailored for their needs going forward.

On Tuesday, the committees will be at King Cetshwayo District Municipality, where they will visit affected small businesses, cooperatives and informal traders at eNseleni, Empangeni and eSikhaleni in uMhlathuze Local Municipality. They will later proceed to KwaDukuza Local Municipality.

Members of the committee will on Wednesday be at eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, where they will visit several areas affected by the destruction and looting, including Camperdown, Pinetown, Inanda, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma. -