Gabriel Sithole: 10 Tips on Dealing with South African Govt Departments

By Gabriel Sithole

Okay, I feel it is my citizen’s duty to inform you as a member of the public, that somewhere in your lifetime, you WILL have to go to a government department writes South African photographer Gabriel Sithole. I just picked up my new licence card… after a long and frustrating wait!

gabriel sithole

I have compiled just 10 topics that will help you in getting things going well for you!

Here we go. *clears throat*

1. Entering the Premises

Greet the security ladies and gents. This is very important! Not greeting them is a sign of disrespect or arrogance. If you want things to go smoothly for you, acknowledge these ladies and gents.

2. Good Manners

Greet loudly, everybody, in the queue. “Howzit”. “Sanibonani”. “Eita” etc, will do. This is to inform everyone in the queue that you are approachable and human. This is an investment for you because when the queue slows down, you WILL need someone to talk to. This is super-critical.

3. Seating Arrangement

When sitting on the chairs, do not sit like you are in your lounge. There’s an invisible glass wall between these seats. Stay on your side! This is good neighbourliness!

While seated, PLEASE do not play your Whatsapp voice notes, for ALL of us to hear. You won’t like it when we comment… now that you invited us into your private space.

4. Snacking

While seated, please, please, please… don’t show off by eating your Protein bars and drinking green liquids called smoothies. We have much more important issues, like “Has the guy in front of us got all his docs in order… or he’s going to contribute to me getting fired today, as he will slow down the service time at the window?”.

Please South Africa! A crunchie will do! A squashed, melted lunch bar is even better. It says… “You are with us.”

6. Time

Stop looking at your wristwatch! You’ve been on your phone since you got here. Does it not have a clock? Then why are you making all of us anxious by looking at your wrist! STOP IT!!

7. Talking in the Queue

Speak loudly! Otherwise, you are gossiping about us! We all want to be part of the conversation. Feel free to ask for our input as well. As long as you have not been served and I’m sitting next to you… I’m your EVERYTHING. I’m your pastor, brother, psychologist, tv guide, your consumer watchdog, financial advisor, marriage counsellor. I’m your EVERYTHING. Treat me as such!

Do not speak about what you do, how awesome your family is, what great weekends/holidays you’ve had, where you are parked, what car you are driving, etc. This makes us look and feel like under-achievers. Keep the topics light. Rugby, soccer, cricket, high fuel prices, sabc1, 2, 3, e-tv…stuff that we can relate to. DO not mention DSTV, Netflix, Showmax etc. You are alienating yourself.

8. Phone Etiquette

Do not play music for us, your playlist is super-k*k!

Do not wear headphones! We want you to have the full experience of waiting… that we are having too.

Put your phone on vibrate! Unless you really have an awesome ringtone that will entertain us. PUT-THAT-THING-ON-VIBRATE!

Be brief! Why are you having a conference call with ALL of us? We do not care about your tender deal that you got. Why are you here with us, if you are so “loaded”. Respect us, please!

9. Body Language

Sit comfortably! Don’t slouch… you are not giving us hope. We end up thinking you have been here the whole day. Relax! Don’t tense up!! You are making us unsure why we are or if we are in the line! Just…just…just sit properly dammit!

10. Service Window

Greet the employee loudly, so we can all hear! We will be judged by how you approach the official/employee at the window. He or she will then take revenge on us. Please, man, don’t cock it up for us.

Do not greet them by their name on the name badge. This only proves that you think you are smart and you can read. Call them “Sisi or Boetie”. DO NOT say “baba, uncle, bro…mama. Why not? Read the above point again for an answer.

“Do you take cards??” Oh NO, YOU DIDN’T just ask that. This is not Woolworths!! Carry cash! Cash! Cash! Cash!

Look humble and desperate! This is important if you want to be helped. Drop your Umhlanga accent at the door. Forget all that ish Dr Phil told you about “Looking confident”. Your confidence is NOT going to help you here. Why not? Read the last line of point 10 AGAIN!

Be interested in the employee/official hard work. Mention something random like, “Wow you guys start early!” Or “It’s tough to work with people hey.” Show them you are on their side! You and I know good and well that you HATE every moment. Cummon man Smokes and mirrors! Remember our hopes as we are sitting down… rest upon your attitude at this window.

11. Greet Goodbye

Greet the employee/official goodbye and thank them for helping you.

DO NOT GREET US!!!! We haven’t been served yet! Just keep walking to your good life and leave us alone. Can you not see that we have service problems, hence we still sitting here! You insensitive piece of…

By Gabriel Sithole

Posted by Gabriel Sithole on Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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