10 Easy Steps to Get Your Passport in Cape Town

The travelling bug has never bitten me in all of my thirty-something-ish years of existence. Yet I find myself planning to go to China at the end of the year. And guess what? The bug still hasn’t bitten. Except. My sister is there. And will be there for another 18 months, give or take. It’s no wonder I’ve been putting myself through hell in the hopes of getting my passport. Hell as I know it, is a normal BP reading. Which should excite me. Except it doesn’t. Everyone else’s normal is my high. I’m irritated beyond measure, and after months of trial and error, I can finally successfully apply for my passport. And provide you with 10 Easy Steps to get Your Passport in Cape Town.

But first… Let me tell you about the nightmare that is called Department of Home Affairs.

In the past few months I have woken up at ridiculous hours and stood in the cold for nothing. Nada. Zilch! On two occasions I was too late. Another few occasions the system was either being upgraded, or like my final attempt today, the system was offline. Which basically meant that myself and some hundreds of people who have possibly taken another day off work have wasted travelling fare, money and time. Some of them possibly lost money today as well. Well isn’t our service delivery just freaking brilliant? No wonder that first world country president said we are a sh!thole country. Makes sense. Which is why at this time I think it’d be quite alright to assume they only accept the sacrifice of one kidney, your car engine and good hair days in lieu of service. And also, I so want to work there. Only to have working off days.

In an attempt to speed up the process, I’ve applied online but since my bank is not one of the preferred banks, that was a wasted effort too. Turns out if you have an account at ABSA or FNB, it will be a total waste as well. The only bank that offers the service of applying online and obtaining your passport without having to endure the hopelessness that’s called DHA is banking with Standard Bank and doing it via them. In Cape Town, that is. But then you’ll be lucky if you don’t happen upon a smug branch manager who makes you want to spew profanities at like a damn sailor. But you don’t, because it’s never a good idea to be escorted out by security. Imagine the horror.

After standing outside of the DHA offices in Bellville this morning until just before 10am, I decided to leave and open up a Standard Bank account to get the ball rolling. Easy peasy. I could see the end of this tedious journey. I started to visualized the pollution I will be exposed to and just about tasted the delicious burger that they would later tell me was donkey meat and I’ll die of hunger for the remainder of my stay in China. Not before my body used up all the reserves that is called winter comfort eating though. Yes, please! Where do I sign up? And how much do I have to eat between now and then to ensure that I survive two weeks without food in the east? Also, I’m only travelling with undies. Looking forward to buying up all the XXXL’s they have in stock and off course, the main reason, seeing my sister. Lord knows I don’t need another bank account but I need a Standard Bank account.

Preferably at a branch where the manager isn’t smug and asks me why I went to enquiries when there are sales consultants signs up. Yeah, that happened. To be fair he did ask a valid question when I complained about my wasted time standing in a queue for nothing. He just shouldn’t have voiced it. And in the manner he did. I know this because it’s the very sarcastic remark I would have made. In my head naturally. So as I’m trying to form my words and deleting the words: idiot, smug, eff off… Trying my damnest to not take my ever increasing frustration out on him, he continues saying how all banks have the same set up because he’s worked at three banks before. Whoop-dee-freaking-Doo!

All I really wanted to tell him was that being a bank branch manager was nothing more than a glorified retail assistant. I wanted to ask him if all banks were the same, why was there no client liaison who could assist me before I wasted my time. Why he felt it common knowledge for the general public to know exactly which way to go. Then again, all the words were blocked by eff off! All except for “You know what, just forget about it.” And then I left. Because for all his signs in his precious little bank, I’m sure that he and his smug attitude would probably not know what a “trackback” to a website is. He wouldn’t know what the difference between a 2C and 4C curl pattern is and he probably doesn’t know what a “clear catch” in medical terms is. And even if he did know all these things, well he doesn’t quite hit the nail when it comes to client services or how not to infuriate a client. At least not where I’m concerned.

But enough about myself!

How to get Your Passport in Cape Town you ask?

  1. Don’t waste your time going to Department of Labour.
  2. If you don’t have a Standard Bank account, open one and register the account for online banking.
  3. Go straight to the Sales Consultants section at the bank and write your name your name in the book provided.
  4. Register on DHA online
  5. Apply for your passport
  6. Process payment
  7. Print the payment and application confirmation
  8. Make an appointment at the Canal Walk Standard Bank branch (They are the only branch that does this!)
  9. Arrive. Have finger prints and picture taken.
  10. Confirm collection branch and wait until they contact you to collect.

After an eventful morning of absolute disgust at the pathetic service we as South Africans have to endure on a daily basis, my feet are actually itching to see if the grass is greener on the other side. I want to go someplace where there is some damn accountability. Although I’m not naive enough to believe that the grass really is greener. But it would be bloody fantastic if we don’t have to beg for basic services. One can dream and right now I can once again taste China and it’s delicious. Imagine all the sushi I can have because who goes to a foreign country for a burger? I love eating too much to ever die of starvation. China needs me to educate them about wild animals who roam the streets. Tell them that it’s actually humans. I want to feel my legs burn as I walk up the Great Wall. I want to see the side of the country where people don’t beg but hustle. Most of all I need China to see for myself where everything is made.

PS: I have yet to open my Standard Bank account. Today was simply enough drama and I may just throttle the next person I come across. Seeing the inside of a holding cell is not my idea of a great weekend.

PPS: The effect of bad service delivery makes my PMS seem like a walk in the park. 😶

With love,



  1. Jonelle

    August 10, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Lol this made me chuckle. I’d like to throw in a) don’t dare me born in another country. This increasing your problems exponentially. Lol


    When it comes to bureaucracy, the grass REALLY is greener over here. Ive not struggled at all with any kind of document and I’m constantly in awe at how simple it is. Currently waiting on my NZ drivers license to arrive in the post. Took 20 minutes to apply for and arrives withing 10 days. I’m thankful after my SA journey.

    1. CJ

      August 11, 2018 at 10:26 am

      I was thinking about you yesterday and your struggles with DHA. Thank goodness I was born here.

      At the rate things are going I may just decide to pack up here and move abroad. Mentioned it to my person yesterday…

      1. Jonelle

        August 13, 2018 at 11:08 am

        I dont get notifications of new responses, so random. Wow, where were you thinking of?

        1. CJ

          August 13, 2018 at 12:53 pm

          I’ve been experiencing problems with spam comments like crazy the past month and have been changing settings like crazy on this side. May be due to that. Thanks for the heads up. Will have a look at the settings again.

          Still not sure about where and when. But I guess that will be when I can convince the husband.

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