So yesterday I caught the MyCiti into town to go to Home Affairs to collect our son’s unabridged birth certificate. (Thankfully people will not have to wait months to get these anymore, due to Home Affairs now issuing them in place of the abridged ones! – Oh so many hassles would be have been saved if they had done that months ago… But THAT is for another blog post another time!)
I have to say that generally Home Affairs have improved their services dramatically. I was waiting to collect the certificate, from start to finish, for 32min, which is still a while, but compared to times in the past, when i waited two hours to collect our marriage certificate, 32 minutes is nothing! Although I have four ‘nays’ i would say this was my best home affairs experience yet.
* The ‘new’ (its at least a year old now) ticket system is being more efficiently run by the officials. (if you haven’t been to home affairs in a while, basically you stand in a queue as you enter the building and get a ticket number, you are then free to sit and wait until your number is called to the counter, avoiding the need to actually sit or stand in a queue). One of the challenges with the ticket system is that: people are getting numerous tickets/or some are giving up on waiting/or there is something wrong with the ticketing machine, because there were many numbers that were called over the speaker system, to which no people responded. Now, why I say the system is being more efficiently run, is on previous visits, the officials at the counter would call each number about 8 times (no I don’t think I am exaggerating), and unless a person with that ticket came to the counter that number would get ‘stuck’ in the call loop. I remember watching one official doing nothing but push the ‘call’ button for about 10 minutes. NOW they only call a number once, if no one responds in a few seconds they move onto the next number.
* The other people waiting around for the numbers to be called were friendly and smiled and pulled faces and ‘played’ with my son. One very patient man next to me, picked up a dropped toy four times!!!
* There is a mother’s room! I didn’t go in, because I only saw it as i was about to leave… but there is always next time!
* The ground was filthy, rubbish was being swept up, But after crawling for about 3 minutes on the tiles my son’s feet were black! (Thank goodness for wet wipes). sometime i will blog about why i let him crawl on a dirty floor…
* The ticketing system is not known by all, and is not INCREDIBLY CLEARLY signed. While I was waiting at least two people were very rudely told/shouted at, that they needed to get a ticket. ( longish side note here: The one guy actually had a ticket, but because of a staff confusion i will mentioned below, the official did not know he had been called, so being shouted at resulted in the man having an incredibly defeated look on his face. He stood next to the counter shaking his head, and the walked a few steps, paused again, before eventually leaving the building. You see the birth certificates counter, also happens to be the death certificates counter. While I don’t know if the gentlemen with a ticket was there to register a death, his response makes me think he was. I know the other man who did not have a ticket was there to register and death and he was incredibly thankful when I went over and explained the ticket system).
* Which brings me to my next ‘Nay’, whilst the people waiting in the queue were friendly the officials were not. They also had no issues with complaining about the people they were serving to their colleagues right in front of everyone. Granted I would not like their job, but perhaps they need gentle reminding that they might be dealing with family members who have recently suffered the shock of a death in the family.
* and final Nay, the above hinted at staff confusion. There were three staff members working counter six, which meant that sometimes they did not realise that a number at just been called (resulting in a ‘why are you here face’), or that another staff member had taken on the called number when they had turned their back for a second (which made them shout out in frustration, “why is no one responding’.).
What you need to know:
* You must register a birth at a Home Affairs Office, within 30 days.
* The father must be present if you are not married and wish to register the child under the father’s surname. IF you are married the child will automatically be registered under the father’s surname.
*Bring: Your ID and the hospital or clinic certificate of birth you were given on discharge
* Get a ticket and fill out a Notice of Birth, BI-24
*Everyone will now be issued with unabridged birth certificates (Which include the father’s name), some of these will be issued on the stop, whilst some might take 30 days to process.