Babies turned away as Mbombela home affairs remain closed

Babies turned away as Mbombela home affairs remain closed
LOCKOUT: The home affairs office in Mbombela like many others across the country remain closed due to fear of Covid-19 infections. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK

Officials had announced on local radio stations that the office would be opened.

Scores of newborn babies are being referred back home by security guards outside the Mbombela home affairs as the office continues to be closed due to fear of Covid-19 infections.

It has been locked since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the national lockdown in March 2020.

Naki Masango, mother of 1 month old Slindokuhle from Matsulu, said she heard on the radio that the office would be opened Monday 4 May 2020 in order for children to come do their birth certificates.

“Monday we woke up early in the morning and we queued here but nobody came,” she said.

“Yesterday we came again,” she said referring to Tuesday, “and still there was nobody”.

Slindokuhle was born on 24 March 2020. When they came to the office to register her birth they were welcomed by a notice on the wall: “Please note that this office will be closed until further notice”.

The DA said in fact many home affairs staff across the country have abandoned their offices, fearing being infected by the Corona Virus at their workplace due to the many people that come there.

Home affairs offices are not supposed to close, because it must carry out the very important work of documentation, like issuing birth and death certificates.

“People who want to bury their loved ones have been left in the lurch with no possibility of getting death certificates,” deputy shadow minister of home affairs Angel Khanyile said.

Parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee chairman, Bongani Bongo, said he had instructed all committee members to ensure all home affairs offices remain opened. Protective equipments have been arranged for home affairs officials for their workplace safety.

Bongo said for the past 30 days the department has not been able to document newborn babies due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He said as a committee they want the office to be opened, especially for officials to register newborn babies. 

“A majority of the parents are supposed to be getting the grant that was announced by the President last month and that’s why as a committee we want all offices to open. Each and every member of the committee has been instructed to go to their nearest offices and make sure the offices are opened and that social distancing is adhered to as well as the wearing of masks and the area is sanitised. So we are going to be doing that,” he said.

(edited by MLM)

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