Author: My Office News

How to sell: office furniture

Chairs

When advising customers about which chair to purchase, it is important for them to remember that they will be using the chair every day, for prolonged periods of time. A good office chair will contribute to better work habits and to overall productivity. For this reason, it is not a good idea to be too frugal when it comes to the office chair.
The four main factors your customers need to consider when buying an office chair are mobility, comfort, adjustability and durability.

Parts of the chair

The backrest supports the back. For it to provide the maximum support to the lumbar region (the curve at the base of the spine), the backrest should be height adjustable and gently curved to match the natural curve of the spine.
For a chair to be considered ergonomic, a backrest should be between 30,5cm and 50cm wide. The tilt mechanism allows the backrest to maintain lumbar support. 

The seat should be wide enough for a person to sit comfortably centred in the chair, with a 2,5cm space on either side, and deep enough to allow 5cm to 10cm of space between the back of the knees and the edge of the chair.
Most office chairs have a seat lift which makes the seat pan adjustable for correct positioning.

Armrests should support the arms to reduce stress from building in the shoulders, neck and the middle of the back. Customers should aim to buy a chair with adjustable armrests so they don’t interfere when the chair is pulled close to the desk or computer, not get in the way of hands and wrists.

The base of the chair should be well made in a five-star configuration to prevent tipping when someone leans back in the chair. Metal and wood bases will last longer than ones constructed out of plastic. Advise customers to select an extra-wide base for extra stability.
Most office chairs have casters. Hard casters are ideal for carpeting, while rubber-coated casters are ideal on a hardwood floor. Clients should ensure that the wheels will be alright on the type of flooring in the office.  

Types of chairs 

High-back (or executive) office chairs extend to the upper back, and can even support the neck and head. This relieves tension in the lower back, preventing long term strain. These chairs include features such as button-tufted back cushions, adjustable comfort controls, headrests, removable or padded arms and dual-wheel casters.
Mid-back office chairs offer support to the mid-to-upper back region and are a logical choice for cross-performance tasks. Some brands of mid-back and high back office chairs feature the pillow back style of built-in lumbar support specifically designed to relieve lower back stress.
Low-back (or task) office chairs are designed to support the lower-to-mid back region and are ideal for a range of applications. They are versatile, available in numerous styles, and can feature tilt tension control and pneumatic seat height adjustment.
There are also special chairs available for customers who are taller or larger than average. They are able to bear more weight and have a greater range of adjustability.

Did you know?
The kneeling office chair originated in Norway in the 1970s to address back problems arising from the body resting in a right-angled position when seated.
This kind of office chair has no back, and when sitting the hips shift forward, aligning the neck, spine and shoulders.


Material


Office chairs come in an array of fabrics, in a range of different colours and patterns.
Clients who want fabric chairs should be advised to buy breathable material of a higher grade. This will be long-lasting and durable, and easier to clean. It is also advisable to get a stain-resistant coating applied to the fabric. Fabric office chairs are a convenient way to blend with the existing décor and furnishings.
Nothing says “executive” like a leather office chair. These chairs look sleek and are comfortable. Leather office chairs can have simple stitched detail to button-tufted styling, tailored leather padding to ribbed back and seat.
Remind clients that leather office chairs do require regular care and maintenance.
Vinyl office chairs can look like leather, but are more economical and easier to care for. They are available in a wide variety of styles and colours, but they are prone to cracking and are not breathable so they can cause the users to sweat. Some manufacturers provide vinyl seating with an anti-bacterial, anti-microbial coating. This makes vinyl chairs ideal for high-traffic areas.
Mesh chairs are ideal for warmer climates or people who sweat a lot. They are breathable and allow for air flow. Some types of these chairs have just a mesh back, while others have both a mesh back and seat. They make sitting for long periods of time more comfortable by allowing your customer’s back to breathe, thus promoting better circulation.

Things customers should keep in mind when choosing an office chair 

  • Check for ergonomic features, such as controls for adjusting the backrest and chair height; 
  • Check the manufacturer’s product description for the chair’s maximum weight capacity;  
  • Keep the type of padding in mind – the chair should be comfortable to sit in all day;  
  • When purchasing an executive office chair, consider buying the matching side or guest chair at the same time;
  • Keep in mind adjustment controls – pneumatic office chairs are easier to use; and 
  • Chairs for reception area should swivel and rotate easily to allow the person using the chair easy access to the different parts of their workspace without strain or overreaching.
     

Desks

Many workers spend upwards of eight hours a day at their desks – and the wrong one can make them very miserable. The right desk improves productivity, creating a comfortable and ergonomic working environment. When your customers are looking to replace desks for themselves or their employees, ask them to consider these important points which will help them choose the best desk for their needs.

Use 

The first thing to ask your customer is what they will use their desk for. If the answer is mostly computer work, advise them to select a desk or workstation specifically designed for computer use. The desk should offer a space or compartment for the tower of a desktop PC, as well as built-in wiring holes or channels for electrical connections to keep cords off the floor and out of the way.
If the client’s job is paperwork-focused, they should choose a desk or workstation that has a large surface to accommodate spreadsheets, books or piles of paperwork.  Workers who have to do a lot of paperwork usually require a wide range of stationery on hand, such as staplers, pens and highlighters. Ensure that a desk for this activity has ample drawer space for storage of these items.
Those customers whose jobs consist of roughly equal quantities of computer time and paperwork should consider an “L”-shaped set-up to allow for both work and meeting space. “U”-shaped desks provide even more space, but these can be very expensive. 

Work style 

Ask your customer to consider the work style of the person that will be using the desk. People who are messy and who spread their work out all around them will need a larger desk. Those who use a laptop and not much else will not need a big desk.
Ask your customers to consider ergonomics and space. A compact computer desk or mobile computer cart might be ideal for someone who doesn’t need a lot of space.
The desk your customer chooses should provide clearance for their legs. The standard desk is approximately 76cm from the floor. This is ideal for the average user.
When your client sits behind the desk, there should be just over a metre of space for their feet. Likewise, just under a metre should be available in between the desk and another piece of office furniture, and in front of the desk if the customer receives visitors there.
For computer-users, keyboards need to be placed at a comfortable height. Keyboards placed on traditional desks may be at too high a height and may result in significant discomfort or muscle strain for the user. Computer desks should either be equipped with a keyboard platform, or legs that can be adjusted. Be sure that any keyboard platform is large enough to hold a mouse.
Your customers should also consider reach when purchasing a desk. Any desktop equipment should be easily accessible, and there should be sufficient space so as not to overload the desktop.
If the desk has a sharp edge, consider placing a wrist pad along the edge to help prevent unnecessary pressure and pinching on the inner surface of the wrists. 

Material 

Desks can be made out of a number of different materials, and your customer will need to choose based on the way they will use their desk.
Laminate is one of the most popular choices because it is both durable and good-looking. A plastic finish that is applied to a wood core, laminate is affordable, durable and can withstand more knocks, bumps and scratches than pure wood or veneer. It also comes in a wide array of colours and wood grains. Recommend a desk with a thick, high pressure laminate for long-lasting quality.
Metal or steel is the most durable choice. Although not the most professional in appearance, these kinds of desks are reasonably priced and good for long-term, heavy use or for high- traffic areas. Your customer should be able to tell the quality by the weight of the desk.
Wood or veneer is the elegant choice, usually chosen by executives. Veneer is a thin surface layer of wood glued to a more inferior base. Wood and veneer desks generally look more attractive than other types of desk, but they are typically more expensive and considerably more delicate. They are easily scuffed or damaged and are not suited to heavy use. 

Build 

When your customers are looking for quality, tell them to ensure that they look at the construction of the drawers.
Metal suspension rollers show a sturdy suspension. Drawers should open and close easily while bearing weight.
Drawers should slide out to their full length, so that they are easy to access and pack.
High-quality wood drawers are assembled with an interlocking, which is stronger than drawers put together with just staples or glue. With a steel or metal desk, a good tip is to look at the drawers when they’re closed. If there is a gap where the drawer meets the desk, the desk is not set right.
Advise your customers to examine the corners and edges of a desk – there should be no fraying. Desks should also come with a warranty, which is a good indication of the quality, durability and life expectancy of the piece.  Warranties can range anywhere from a year to a lifetime, depending on the price-point and quality of the desk.

Give your back a break

Standing desks are not new – Thomas Jefferson invented a six-legged “tall desk” that had an adjustable slanted top.
As we’ve all been told, sitting for hours at a time can wreak havoc on a person’s back, especially for individuals with existing back problems.
Consider giving your back a break by using a stand-up desk, where you quite literally “stand up” while working. Many users claim this work method also makes them feel more alert and productive on-the-job. Desk stools are also available to be used in conjunction with these desks.
Today’s desk is no longer the simple table with drawers of years gone by. Take advantage of the myriad of desk choices out there; many now available at relatively reasonable prices at office supply superstores. Give some thought to the considerations listed above when selecting your next work desk. It will serve as a valuable tool in establishing a comfortable, ergonomic and productive workspace.
Source: Business Knowhow


Desks at home 

Advise your clients to consider a computer desk for home work spaces. They keep things neatly organised and can hide a lot of clutter. “L”-shaped desks are often a good solution if the work desk needs to share space in another room like a bedroom or family room.
 

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

SA’s two largest cellular networks warn that network connection might be lost if load shedding continues.

Batteries take up to 18 hours to recharge, and if electricity is repeatedly disrupted, it may result in network downtime.

Cellular network connectivity might soon be disrupted if load shedding continues or worsens, South Africa’s two largest network providers said.

Eskom implemented stage four load shedding for the first time in history on Monday morning, after seven generating units tripped, leaving up to 20% of South Africa without electricity at a time. Load shedding (stage 3) continued on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Jacqui O’Sullivan, MTN South Africa’s executive for corporate affairs, said the operational impact will first be felt where the frequency of the load shedding exceeded the capacity of the back-up batteries.

She said their batteries generally have a capacity for six to 12 hours and require roughly 12-18 hours to recharge.

“Where consecutive load shedding took place, batteries were unable to fully recharge, resulting in reduced back-up times,” O’Sullivan told Business Insider South Africa.

She said MTN spent more than R100 million in the past year dealing with acts of theft and vandalism, and had to deploy security teams to protect the equipment.

“These crimes tend to spike during load shedding when the lack of power sees substations being vandalised for copper wire which then further exacerbates the power supply problem.”

Vodacom said their clients will not be able to access any services when backup power at their towers becomes depleted.

It said when the power is restored, customers will be able to catch up on missed calls and messages which would not have come through.

“It is, however, worth noting that when compared with our total network traffic, the recent impact on Vodacom’s network has been limited due to our back-up power facilities,” a Vodacom spokesperson said.

MTN’s O’Sullivan said the uncertainty surrounding load shedding and the duration thereof, particularly, puts additional strain on their network.

She said the duration and frequency of load shedding compromised their batteries which increases operational costs.

“We want our customers to be able to continue communicating and working, despite the electricity interruptions and we have operations teams working 24 hours a day to mitigate the impact on our customers, as far as we possibly can,” O’Sullivan said.

New TymeBank signs up 50 000 users

Although the bank only soft-launched at the end of 2018, TymeBank has already signed up 50 000 customers. This is according to Business Tech, who heard from the company’s CEO, Sandile Shabalala, at the BusinessTech Digital Banking Conference on Wednesday.

Shabalala says that the new digital banking group is looking to radically change the way South Africans access banking services in the country – and has run its first full store activation in preparation for its official launch.

The bank’s soft-launch involved placing the group’s kiosks in selected areas. The bank operates on a partnership model with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores in South Africa. This provides an easy-to-access physical point of presence for customers in places they frequent.

The partnership gives the bank 750 points of presence through the retailers’ networks, and access to 10 000 cash till points. According to BusinessTech, this gives the bank access to an extensive network without having to spend a cent on building its own infrastructure

SA’s go-to loadshedding app

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

Load shedding application EskomSePush went from 2,500 active users a week ago to over 400,000 on Tuesday. This after Eskom implemented load shedding stage 4 for the first time in history.

Two friends created the application, which is currently the most downloaded South African application on iOS, as a side project in 2014.

Load shedding notification application EskomSePush went from 2,500 active users a week ago to over 400,000 users on Tuesday, co-creator Herman Maritz said.

This after embattled power utility Eskom, for the first time in history, implemented stage 4 load shedding on Monday morning, leaving up to 20% of the country without electricity. Around a third of Eskom’s 45,000 MW capacity is offline.

EskomSePush is now the most downloaded application on the South African iOS App store, and the second most downloaded application, behind WhatsApp, in the South African Google Play Store.

Maritz said the application is likely to reach 500,000 by the end of the week, when Eskom is reportedly set to suspend load shedding.

He said they’ve received some 1,400 emails every day since Monday, from three last week.

“Sorry, we’re not replying to all the emails anymore,” Maritz jokingly told Business Insider South Africa.

Maritz co-created EskomSePush with Dan Wells in 2014 while they were building banking apps.

“We wanted to know when load shedding was happening so that we could plan around it over our December holidays,” Maritz said.

“We laughed about making this simple push notification service.”

They originally used a service called PushBullet to send us notifications, and in 2015 – six weeks after launch – they had over 100,000 users.

“[We] peaked at around 250,000 active users before load shedding was suspended later that year,” Maritz said.

The app received awards at MTN’s 2015 App of the Year awards for both People’s Choice and Breakthrough Developer App.The application automatically detects and alerts users when load shedding stage changes occur. It provides detailed information of over 50,000 locations in South Africa.

“The system is 100% automated in terms of load shedding stage changes and push notifications,” Maritz said.

Maritz, who now works as a engineer for online Classifieds OLX in Germany, said the application was until recently fully funded by themselves, but they brought in a few ads to “keep the lights on”.

“I hate ads, and we’re thinking of different solutions, but Dan needs some cash flow to keep the app running,” Maritz said.

Wells added: “We enjoy keeping it running! It’s a rush!”

The duo encouraged anyone who is an experienced mobile or JavaScript developer who is keen to work on a useful side-project to contact them at iwanttohelp@sepush.co.za.

How to choose a UPS for your needs

Judging by the state of Eskom, loadshedding is here to stay. So what is the best solution to get you through the average 4-hour load shedding schedule? A generator, or a UPS with long life batteries?

It really all depends on your circumstances.

If your business or home is located in a low noise area, such as office blocks, flats or apartments, then a silent UPS solution is probably the best way to go, even though the initial capital investment may be three or more times that of a generator.

Of course, the new type inverter type generators are more silent, but the cost is more than double that of conventional generators of the same size.

What most people don’t realise is that even though the upfront cost of a generator may seem an attractive proposition, there are associated hidden costs in the form of fuel costs, maintenance costs and spare parts. If the generator is a “cheapie” from China without local support from an official distributor, then beware. You could be forced to dump it after only a few months.

Installation costs of a generator may also be slightly more than that of a UPS, as you would have to install a manual changeover switch, to switch to either generator power or to grid power, depending on the situation.

With most UPS systems, changeover is an automatic process; when Eskom or City Power fails, the system automatically switches to battery power through an inverter.

Yes, it is true that a generator can be fitted with an automatic change over switch, but with costs exceeding R15 000 to R20 000, you may as well go the UPS route.

With a UPS there are no fuel or maintenance costs. Reputable UPS systems have intelligent battery chargers that ensure maximum battery efficiency for long life. Yes, depending on the type of deep cycle battery used (5 or 10 year lifespan), as well as the frequency of re-charges, one would have to plan ahead to replace batteries when they reach end of life. The benefits however will far outweigh the costs.

A pure sinewave UPS offers seamless, clean and stable power during load shedding, enabling you to power sensitive devices such as computers and modems.

To cut down the initial investment of a UPS, consider a system with fewer batteries.
Do you really need 6-8 hours backup, or will 3-4 hours do? Remember that during load shedding you can extend the length of the rated backup by simply connecting the bare minimum equipment.

For example, in a home environment, lights, TV/DSTV and Internet; or in an office environment, lights, the telephone system, computers and Internet. Most of this can be achieved with a 2-3KVA UPS or generator.

Insistence on buying large generators, far exceeding power requirements during a power outage, results in fuel going to waste.

A generator is only a true necessity if the power outages in your area are over 8 hours or longer.
In those cases, the cost of a UPS with backup batteries would become prohibitive – unless of course, it has a solar power option that would deal with daytime power outages.

Choose wisely and never over-capitalise if the main focus is to simply get through the load shedding sessions.

By Henri Pereira for FocalCom

 

By Sifiso Zulu for EWN

South Africans are looking to President Cyril Ramaphosa for answers after the latest round of load shedding; the most severe to hit the country.

Eskom says it had no choice but to implement stage 4 load shedding on Monday after an urgent need to shed 4,000 megawatts off the grid.

Stage 4 load shedding has never been implemented before, and this drastic measure by Eskom took the country by surprise.

But it appears that even President Ramaphosa was not expecting the latest development, saying it came as a shock and was most worrying.

Energy expert Chris Yelland agrees that this move was unprecedented and speaks to how dire the situation is at the debt-ridden power utility.

“This is uncharted territory. So, it’s much deeper than it’s ever been before, and it did come as a surprise because it was announced that six generation units shut down as a result of unplanned outages.”

Ramaphosa recently announced plans to unbundle Eskom into three entities to deal with generation, transmission and distribution.

Labour unions have vowed to fight the plan, arguing that it’s the onset of privatising Eskom.

Total’s oil and gas discovery worth R1trn

By Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg/Fin24

Total SA said it has opened up a new “world-class” oil and gas province off the coast of South Africa after making a significant gas-condensate discovery there will provide a boost for the economy of R1-trillion over the next 20 years.

Success in the nation’s first deep-water well is a potential boon for a country that imports most of its oil, processing the remainder of its fuels from coal and natural gas.

“We are very pleased to announce the Brulpadda discovery, which was drilled in a challenging deep-water environment,” Kevin McLachlan, senior vice president of exploration at Total, said in a statement on Thursday.

“Total has opened a new world-class gas and oil play and is well-positioned to test several follow-on prospects on the same block.”

Total, the operator, now plans to acquire 3D seismic data before drilling as many as four more exploration wells at the license.

“It’s a catalytic find,” Niall Kramer, chief executive officer of the South African Oil & Gas Alliance, an industry lobby group, said by phone. The country has only drilled in shallow waters before, with little to show for it, he said. “There’s nothing that has been on this kind of scale.”

Exxon, Eni

The new oil and gas region, with estimated volumes of around 1 billion barrels according to consultant Wood Mackenzie, has drawn interest from explorers including Exxon Mobil and Eni SpA, which also hold stakes in the waters.

“It’s probably quite big,” Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said Thursday on a conference call. “Having said that, the region is quite difficult to operate: huge waves, the weather isn’t very easy.”

Total was drilling about 175 kilometers (109 miles) offshore in the Outeniqua Basin to a final depth of 3 633 meters (11 900 feet). The discovery, which also includes some light oil, could prompt a rush of activity offshore by other companies, especially since South Africa is due to introduce new oil and gas legislation later this year aimed at spurring exploration.

Africa as a whole has seen an increase in drilling, with oil and gas rigs around the continent topping 100 in recent months, according to Baker Hughes data. The count was as low as 77 in 2017.

Total has a 45% working interest in Block 11b/12B, Qatar Petroleum holds 25%, CNR International 20% and Main Street, a South African consortium, 10%.

Meanwhile, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe told delegates on the last day of the 2019 Investing in African Mining Indaba on Thursday that his department’s plan to separate oil and gas from the Mining Charter and develop separate legislation for the extraction method would yield immediate impact.

He lauded Total’s discovery as one of the outcomes.

PIC may not be willing to bail out Edcon

By Ann Crotty for Financial Mail

Word is the Public Investment Corp (PIC) is not inclined to hand over about R2bn to Edcon to save it from a fate we’ve all long thought unavoidable.

Of course, right now the PIC is so fixated on its own survival it’s probably not in the mood to consider the survival of other chronically poorly managed entities, even those in the private sector.

It’s been almost 12 years since private equity firm Bain thought it would be a brilliant idea to spend R25bn taking one of the country’s most successful clothing retailers private, load it up with tax-deductible debt and pocket lots of profit.

At that stage Edcon had about 50% of the clothing and footwear market and, under the stellar leadership of Steve Ross, looked as though it could pick up even more.

It is now below 30% and dropping. Still, at 30% it is nearly twice that of its nearest competitor, and large enough for “too big to fail” pleas for support. At stake are over 20,000 jobs and 1,350 stores.

Some analysts see Edcon as a retail version of SAA and say it should be allowed to go into liquidation no matter how painful.

“Is it the PIC’s job to bail out failed private equity transactions?” asks independent analyst Anthony Clark. “Let market forces play out. New, more vibrant competitors will take up much of the jobs and sites.”

More problematic is whether a more vibrant competitor would show the same commitment to sourcing locally.

It’s difficult to know precisely when things at Edcon went pear-shaped. Some say the initial targets set to justify the R25bn take-out price were unrealistic and put the top executives under too much pressure.

Whatever it was, Edcon began to steadily lose the market dominance it had long taken for granted.

“Ross’s departure was a major blow,” says one industry insider, adding that for the past few years there’s been no compelling reason to shop at Edgars. “They lost touch with their customers, gave up their merchandising expertise and started introducing expensive brands. Essentially they just gave away their traditional market dominance to competitors.”

But the insider believes that even without a fund injection from the PIC Edcon may continue to hobble along.

“The bondholders don’t want to lose their money so they’ll keep it alive.”

By Helena Wasserman for Business Insider SA

The American office-sharing giant WeWork will open its first office on the continent in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

WeWork offers large shared workplaces for individuals and companies who don’t want the hassle and cost of maintaining their own offices.

It is renowned for creating comfortable, millennial-friendly surroundings, which include having open lounges and plush sofas, as well as free coffee, craft beer on tap and even mouthwash in the bathrooms.

All WeWork offices have lounges and conference areas.

Offices typically have private phone booths and a communal kitchen. Some even have gyms, as well as ping-pong, pool and foosball tables.

Fast internet comes standard as does “business-class” printers, front desk service, fruit-infused water and access to office supplies. Buildings are typically open 24 hours a day and offer package delivery services.

WeWork offices also offer free coffee.

Launched in 2010 in New York, WeWork has been called the most hyped start-up in the world after Softbank announced a plan to invest $16 billion into the privately-held company last year. The investment would have made WeWork the second most valuable start-up worldwide, but the Japanese behemoth has since cooled on its plan, scaling down its commitment to only $2 billion.

Still, WeWork is massive. The company has 400 offices in 100 cities, with 400,000 members who pay monthly fees to use its offices. It’s the biggest office tenant in both New York City and London.
The majority of WeWork members work for themselves – but almost a third of its members are businesses, who rent space for their employees.

WeWork office decor has been described as “startup kitsch”.
Its first South Africa office will be at the brand-new Rosebank Link building located at 173 Oxford Road. WeWork will rent it from Redefine Properties, under a revenue sharing agreement.

A Redefine representative said the building should be ready for occupation by August. WeWork will occupy six floors.

Up to 2 000 members could be accommodated in its office, and there will be a gym and restaurants in the building, as well as a Food Lovers Market. The building has direct access to the Gautrain station through “a landscaped pedestrianised thoroughfare” that runs underneath the offices.

WeWork has not yet confirmed local membership costs. In India membership for a “hot desk” (meaning you won’t have a dedicated place to sit) costs R1,100 a month, while a dedicated desk comes to R2,000 and a private office is close to R4,000. In the US, membership fees are much more expensive, with a hot desk starting at around R5,000 a month.

Africa is the only continent WeWork hasn’t yet entered, but Eugen Miropolski, managing director of WeWork International, tells Business Insider South Africa there is “huge potential for WeWork in Africa”.

“South Africa makes sense for us from a global expansion perspective: we’re entering a new continent in a country which has close ties to other major WeWork communities such as Europe where we have a strong community of over 60 000 members,” Miropolski says.

The Rosebank WeWork space will be specifically designed to reflect the Joburg culture, he added. A local team will be hired to “programme” the space. “They have to be connected to the culture.”

He hopes that the WeWork space in Johannesburg will bring together “a community of creators from diverse backgrounds including entrepreneurs, startups and large corporates” which will spark collaboration and help to grow the businesses.

Source: IOL

The Parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs on Tuesday welcomed the report that the usage of cellphones by front desk staff during working hours is banned after trade unions opposed this.

This follows the call made by the committee early this year calling for the complete banning of cellphones as it impacts on the quality of services rendered to clients.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) had said that the use of cellphones by front desk staff had been the subject of discussions between labour and the employer in the bargaining chamber in order to ensure it is managed without infringing on the rights of workers.

“It is now clear that the usage of cellphones is banned and clients must not be faced with this challenge when they seek services at the department of home affairs,” said Hlomani Chauke, the chairperson of the committee.

The committee last month received numerous complaints from the public about delays at home affairs offices following a video that surfaced on social media showing two officials using cellphones while people waited in a queue at the home affairs offices in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal.

The department of home affairs has since issued written warnings to the officials involved even though they were not found guilty of any offence as they were using their cellphones during a power cut at the office.

The committee said it was satisfied by remedial action taken by the department. It also encouraged citizens to continue monitoring and reporting bad service by the department in a bid to identify employees who are undermining the delivery of the department’s mandate.

The department has assured the committee that it has undertaken a review of departmental policy on frontline employees’ cellphone use with relevant stakeholders to strengthen it.

“This is a constructive step aimed at reinforcing the endeavour to deliver quality services,” Chauke said.

         

           

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