Home Affairs website complicating for some

WC home affairs public website cannot reach rural communities.

The Home Affairs website.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Home Affairs Chief at the weekend admitted that encouraging the public to use their website may not be easy for everybody, especially those living in rural areas.

The department is aiming to streamline its services by automating its application processes.

However, Eyewitness News received numerous complaints from people who have been battling to get documents, especially unabridged birth and marriage certificates.

Provincial Chief Yusuf Simons said the public will still be assisted in its offices despite the drive to do online applications.

"We assist in the completion of the forms and it's not a lengthy process to complete the forms. We'd like people to use the internet, but are also there to assist in the completion of forms when people do come in."

Angolan National, Fonseca Andre, who is applying to extend a visa for his cousin said the online application process is frustrating.

Andre said he has been up and down to the Barrack Street branch in Cape Town CBD.

"To get the form I need to go to the internet cafe. When I went to the cafe to download the application, I couldn't find the number they gave me. So, I had to return to Home Affairs and receive the right paper."

Andre said not everyone can afford to pay an internet cafe fee to fill in forms.

"It's difficult. You have to pay and stay there for a while, and if you don't have money there's nothing you can do."

Simons said they haven't completely figured out how rural communities will do online applications as yet.

"They can use the internet. Nowadays the internet is free as well so people are able to access it. However, there's a segment of the community as well who needs the Home Affairs since who don't have access to the internet in the rural areas."