I know it doesn't make it right but isn't this indicative of all govt departments these days... question is how (if at all) can it be made better, and is it generally the way things have gone and once they have gone there they never come back?
Processing I can understand to a point but its the interaction and skill of people implementing the laws that are the main concern... also the interpretation thereof... that shouldn't be an acceptable deterioration...
You're right, it doesn't make it right or any more or less acceptable than it would be if the same standard of service, or lack thereof, is experience with a bank, lawyer, insurance or any other important service provider.
The key to transformation of standards in any organisation is accountability. The way things are in SA, and most developing countries, is that there is always someone else to shift the blame to. Passing the buck is the name of the game. No accountability within the ranks means that nothing is lost whether the end user is helped or not. Life just goes on. A job is retained.
Now living in a developed country, the difference between developing and developed countries is obvious. Everyone does their fair share, whether they truly want to or not, and each is held to his/her own accountability, whether they're the janitor or CEO. People work hard and they work together if the end goal is a common one, and if they're being held accountable throughout.
How much accountability can one expect to find if, right from the very highest levels of government, people either ignore it or have no clue what it means?