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The department of home affairs wants to be classified as a security department so it can open on Saturdays without having to pay overtime.
The department has submitted a bill to the cabinet that would change the nature of the home affairs department to a security department, which is entitled to be open on weekends.
In a parliamentary response to a question on why the department did not operate on Saturdays, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the department desperately wanted its offices open on Saturdays.
However, a stalemate had been reached with labour unions.
“The type of services rendered by home affairs offices fall in the same category as services rendered by police services and clinics. Unfortunately, the unions took the matter to the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) and made it a subject of negotiations, [and] it ended in a stalemate,” he said.
“We wanted Saturday work done through the shift system in the same way police and nurses do. However, the unions insist on deploying the same people who work during the week hours, but paying them overtime. Should we agree, the department will be forced into paying overtime for life/permanent overtime and this is untenable.”
Motsoaledi said not operating on Saturdays had negatively affected his department.
“It has affected it negatively, because we could reduce long queues through Saturday work. It is affecting clients in a bad way, especially clients who work during the week and have no time to visit home affairs because they are always at work. Ironically, I believe this affect members of unions the most.”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.