Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hop like a Bunny from the start… trust me!

Okay so here is a lesson you want to learn from me, don’t try and do any of the Birth, Death or Marriage certificates yourself, cause once you do that, and things go wrong, well then you sadly you cant go back and ask for a company like Bunny Hop to come and help you out.

Without going into all the pain I have been experiencing with this, I can tell you that I was not really foolish enough to go and do it myself, but I made the mistake of assuming that all that a company like bunny hop did was the waiting that you would have done.

The company where I work makes use of Leavit 2 Me which does all the leg work for the people who work there, so that work time is not interrupted by petty and irritating chores that can only be done during work hours – nice idea.

So I invoked that power and said, please go and get me some birth certificates for my two boys. What could possibly go wrong…  Well needless to say Murphy came out of the wood work.. but I will resist the temptation to go into that now, except to say that I am on week 20 ( I think ) and no closer to getting them.

So what am I saying here… well if you are going to get someone to help you, understand what they do, not everyone that helps is the same.

Some more detail, the processes that exist for the general public suck.. basically if you apply, you get dumped into a big bag and the bag waits patiently until it is full before it meanders it way up to the main offices. Decent services will courier up your request over night… you are probably already a few weeks ahead at this point.

Next there is some mythical searching process that takes place after the bag gets emptied, and I am told that it can take up to 3 months for them to find all the requests that have ( what sounds like ) been dumped in a pile.

Now a reputable support company will have people queuing at the key location when the request is lodged ( as an aside, it sounds like you really really really want to do this with Pretoria and nowhere else – again something that reputable services provider would know ). I am not sure what the queuing does, but somehow manages to make the requests filter to the top, and come out in a sane period of time.

Needless to say, the company that I used, simply applied on my behalf a the local site ( Durban… you really really don’t want to use them ) and left me high and dry. Not their fault they don’t claim to be home affairs experts, just not a you , it was my fault for not understanding and assuming.

Don’t make my mistake, because if you do, then you are in the horrible position where the request for the information is in the system, and then the support companies cannot help you, ‘cause they know that no matter what they do, the request will always go back to the place where it was first lodged…. so I beg you, pay the money and get it over with.

Protea Pacific Name Change

Okay just a quick on here…

If you are looking for Protea Pacific as of 2009 they have changed their name to IMMagine New Zealand.

I cant say I am a big fan of the change, but I guess if you can get past the inability to pronounce what you see written, then at least it does give an indication of what they do.

Changing a company name is hard work, since it is very pervasive, so I am sure for a long time you will still find reference to it by Protea Pacific, like right now if you go to their new domain, you still see the front page for Protea Pacific… but perhaps I am being unfair since they are only launching the new name in 2009, two weeks from now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Birth Certificates : Be Weary to follow up

Okay I have been having some pain when it comes to getting my Birth Certificates for my boys, which I am sure I will go into some detail with soon.. but here is something scary… umm I mean interesting to learn.

If like me, once your certificates fail to make it out of the mess ( I mean queue ) you end up in the customer support services section where they look at it once every 2 weeks it see if anything has happened.

But, and now for the scary part, every time you make a request for an update your “Urgent and Escalated Request” get pushed to the bottom of the pile…. They believe, in their wisdom, that if you have asked a question, and the person at the call center opens your efile, then something of value must have taken place, meaning that progress may have been made, so that request is now no longer that important and can be put at the back of the queue again.

This is great, so the more worried and urgent it is the more likely it is that you will never get what you need.

Don’t you just love the lack of logic, as if I the lowly John Q Public could ask anything that would change the urgency of the request, or even for that matter that the person at the call center could do anything… because I have it on good authority ( the big boss there ) the only thing they can do is submit a request electronically and wait the mandatory 2 weeks to see if they get any feedback.

…Sigh… crank crank crank….

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An International Blemish on South Africa; A Christmas Wish

South Africa has just cut itself in the international limelight; a paper cut; small innocuous, somewhat accidental, but painful, and sure to linger. But I have Christmas wish. 

I have recently read the following two blog articles by a prominent international blogger, Scott Hanselman. Where he tells two separate instances he has had in his current visit to South Africa. One where he enters the country and is treated rudely by the passport lady and an incident when walking back from the shops is harassed by some young boys.

My Christmas wish is that we would mend and tend our wounds; What would Christmas 2008 be like, if both, the passport lady and the group of boys, were to, simple as this, apologies.

Yes the boys may have just been playing a prank, or indeed may have a deep seated, firmly held objections to mixed relationships. And yes the passport lady could have just had a bad day, or indeed could be responding out of being “… oppressed by Whites her whole life ….

But Who Cares! Whatever the motives or beliefs, simply, one real person to another real person, apologies.

That would be all I would like for Christmas. Please.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Passport Photos, Look miserable

Yup, you thought it was a joke didn’t you, but nope it true. You are not allowed to smile in your passport photos. Just incase you end up looking like someone else!

Don’t believe me you can check this one out, from the Identity and Passport Service of the UK. Scan down to midway : But all follow the same rules.

Okay I know what you are saying having read that, Stephen you are over reacting, they are saying that because they don’t want people doing stupid things, that could legitimately disfigure you face.

But wait, check out this set of photos, once accpetable and one rejected.

But irony of irony, if you look at this lovely page you see the “imply” a passport photo with a smile.

You gotta love that.