A few months ago I went to renew my passport. It was not a wonderful experience because, it is a government organisation so that translates into having to get shitty service and endless waiting.
I got to the immigration office at a cool twenty minutes to seven in the morning and was greeted by two long lines of people, extending from both sides of the gate. I took a deep breath and joined the line on the left hand side of the gate. While waiting, other people came and joined the line, complaining of course because there was no ‘drop off’ advertised on their website as there were others like me, who went before to attempt the process only to be told that you have to see an officer.
The gates opened at seven and that was all, we were allowed on the compound but still we couldn’t go inside the building yet. When we were finally able to go inside, everyone who had to renew their passport had to play a game of musical chairs. So, when one person got to the immigration officer, everyone would move up one chair until finally it was your turn. It was ridiculous. Then, when you get to the officer and he checks to ensure that everything is okay with my form, I was told that I had to go pay by the cashier first before returning to complete the process. Seeing that I paid with Linx the first time, I was going to do likewise this time, only to be told that they accept cash only.
In this day and age of modern technology, why is it that government agencies keep accepting cash only? Those institutions of all places should not be accepting cash but should accept payment via Linx because I don’t believe it is not a safe practice. Even if they do not want to accept only Linx, then they should have a combination because there were other people like myself who wanted to pay with Linx because we do not walk around with much cash. It was a good thing that I decided to walk with extra money that morning because something just told me that this nonsense may have happened. Afterall, it is a government institution.
Anyway, so after playing musical chairs for twenty minutes and getting through with this first part early, I had to wait for the cashier to open at eight o’clock in order to make the payment. This distressed me because if work for everyone else begins at seven, why do I have to wait an entire hour for the cashier to open at eight? This is inconveniencing people, yet again because of their lack of foresight.
The cashier’s location was not on the same floor that the immigration officers were on. Oh no. The cashier was located on the second floor, so one had to climb a flight of stairs to get there. Apparently these people were not thinking about the elderly or disabled people who would not be capable of climbing those flight of stairs to get there because there is no wheelchair access or any elevators. Excellent prudence Immigration Division. Kudos.
Eight o’clock came and the cashier did not open. Quarter past eight, half past eight, everyone including myself was getting very agitated. Someone even wondered if the cashier was going to open at 8 p.m. and not 8 a.m. As the unrest continued, someone went to find out what was the delay in opening. Apparently, the officer on duty was unarmed and therefore, the reason that the cashier could not open.
What absolute nonsense! This officer is stationed there every single day and I could not understand HOW he could have forgotten his arms on that day and was rather calm and cool about it. Realising that the restlessness amongst the crowd was escalating, he finally realised that he needed to go and get his equipment and return. This was after waiting for over an hour and a half.
He returns and lazily returns to his post and then the cashier opens. There is a sign that says that you must have the exact amount of cash required, as with all agencies and again, here is where Linx is handy because that is as exact as it gets.
So I weasel my way into the line and pay for the renewal, went back by the officer who had my stuff with the receipt. He gave me a slip and told me that I would receive my new passport in two months. TWO MONTHS!? What the fryball!?? Why do I have to wait so long to get a renewal!? Plus, they also kept my original marriage certificate so for two months, I do not have my original marriage certificate and I must say that I do not feel comfortable with them having it for so long.
I left after being there for three hours longer than I wanted to, the torture had ended and I was able to return home. Thankfully, after I get this renewal, I do not have to see the again for ten years God spare my life.