Home Affairs officials to down pens

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Home Affairs Chief information officer Sello Mmakau at a press conference in Pretoria, South Africa where he demonstrated the new ID card reader. Home Affairs is hoping to issue at least 100 000 Smart-ID cards within the next two months.

PRETORIA - Getting to the front of a Home Affairs queue may take even longer from 19 June when thousands of front-desk officers are threatening to strike.

They are demanding overtime pay for working on Saturdays.

Workers also accuse the department of trying to bully underpaid and overworked workers.

Department officials say the workers’ demands are unreasonable.

Police may have to step in to provide services as thousands of Home Affairs officials plan to down tools over working hours.

READ: Home Affairs digitises millions of records

"We cannot accept as a department is to deprive people service on a Saturday and we saying to them as an employee of home affairs I do get services of other people which are offered like petrol attendance," said Home Affairs DG, Mkuseli Apleni.

Workers have rejected an offer to take Wednesday's off if they work on Saturday but officials say that is unreasonable.

Tahir Maepa from the Public Servants Association says the department has gone against a contract with employees without any negotiations.

The department has ruled out paying overtime, saying the estimated R200-million per annum needed, would be unsustainable.