SA Closed back at just after 2

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Struggling for some days with the eccentric opening hours of South Africa’s public services’ may puzzle some. I’m of the firm belief that we could have won the Anglo Boer and Anglo Zulu Wars sooner (if, in deed we did win – discuss?) if we had have attacked at lunchtime.
The local post office in Greyton shares premises currently with the Municipality administration. There appears to be only one member of staff – a bored Afrikaans lady. Her hours of work are ‘wait for it’: 12 noon to 3 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Although I have never seen her eat her lunch, nor have anywhere to go, other than sit at the other chair; give up hope of collecting the registered letter or buying stamps. Oh! and take along some ID. I didn’t. And put in 3 trips and 30 or 40 carbon miles collecting my repaired spectacles. Stress?
The Office of Home Affairs is, how can I put this without hopefully being deported, a bureaucratic nightmare. The red tape and idiotic forms I can sort of live with, and the blu-tacked posters of Mbeki and pals and handwritten ‘Our President’ labels BUT. Last week we attempted (again) to extend our visitors permit. 50 minutes into the interview, the bureaucrat, unannounced, stood up and strode off to the ‘rest area’ carrying some of Dion’s excellent fish and chips in a Styrofoam box and balancing a tinnie of coke atop, whilst gripping a copy of the SA equivalent of Hello magazine under her chin. It was lunch time. We have not been back. Our permit expired yesterday but I note that the form says that we can stay as long as we have applied to stay, 30 days before expiry… which we did. The form is silent on the need to have the application granted. Looks like we won’t be deported afterall. The question is do we go back to the OHA?
Oh .. and … the pie shop across the road (what’s this other SA obsession?- calling shops Pie Land or Mr Pie? Mr Exhaust… Bead Land… Irrigation Land…..Mr Safety Film) was also closed until 2.
I’ve had a bad week. Forgive me.