Select Committee Report on Department of Home Affairs Budget & Strategic Plan

NCOP Health and Social Services

29 June 2009
Chairperson: Ms R Rasmeni (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee approved the Committee Report on the Department of Home Affairs Budget and Strategic Plan which highlighted seven concerns/requests:
▪ Present legislation needed to be reviewed and regulations streamlined so that the security of the country and its citizens were not compromised
▪ Security measures at ports-of-entry needed to be more stringent
▪ Management and implementation of the smart-card system need to be properly explained
▪ Electronic and digital systems need to be accessible to citizens in both rural and urban areas
▪ The role of centres of excellence need to be clearly defined
▪ Concerned about the disclaimer in the Auditor-General's report
▪ Need for more mobile units
It was noted that the budget would be voted on by provincial rather than party vote in the NCOP Chamber on 1 July.

The Committee approved minutes of previous meetings. The Chairperson commented that there was no indication of how to proceed with the minuted decisions, and it was agreed that that was a problem.

Meeting report

4 June 2009 meeting: minutes
Ms B Mncube (ANC) put forward a motion to accept them and was seconded by Mr de Villiers (DA).

23 June 2009 meeting: minutes
Mr de Villiers objected to the fact that he had not been invited to any of the previous meetings due to administrative errors by Parliament. He had only found out about the current meeting one hour before its commencement. The Chairperson agreed to sort this out.

Ms Mncube objected that the agenda for that meeting was not reflected in the minutes. Ms Rasmeni clarified that there was also no indication of how to proceed with the minuted decisions, and Ms Mncube agreed that that was the problem.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC) put forward a motion for adoption, and was seconded by Ms Mncube.

25 June 2009 meeting: minutes
Ms M Makgate (ANC) objected that the description of Item 5 was incorrect. Ms Mncube agreed that in the meeting on 25 June, the Minister had talked about de-linking the birth certificate from the ID document.

Ms D Rantho (ANC) explained that the Minister had focused on the importance of educating communities to get a birth certificate for children at the time of their birth, long before the child was under stress to get an identity document at age 16.

Ms Rasmeni agreed to correct Item 5 of the minutes accordingly, but the Content Advisor, Ms T Ganyaza-Twalo, objected, saying that the minutes were correct. Ms Rasmeni then agreed to accept the status of the minutes.

There was also some discussion of Item 9 of the minutes, about the Anti-Corruption Unit: Ms Makgate pointed out that the two officials had not yet been assigned to this unit, and by 1 July they would not yet be managing the unit.

Ms Rasmeni agreed that the unit had yet to be established. Item 9 should be amended accordingly. She commented that the words in the second bullet of the Resolutions, “meet with the officials” should be replaced with “meet with the department”.

These amended minutes were proposed by Ms Mncube and seconded by Ms Makgate.

Committee Report on Department of Home Affairs Budget and Strategic Plan 2009-2011
Ms T Sepanya, Committee Secretary, read out the Committee Report to the meeting that specified six concerns had raised about the budget and strategic plan.

The members were concerned that the Department had been getting qualified audit reports and therefore could not get its financial statements approved. Ms Ganyaza-Twalo explained that the financial statements did not meet the standard of the Auditor-General.

Ms Rasmeni noted that even last year the Auditor-General had issued a disclaimer against the Department’s annual financial statement. “Their books are in a shambles.”

Mr S Plaatjie (COPE) explained that the Department had to eliminate longstanding debts and that some documents had got lost in the move to the new office.

Ms Mncube noted that Point 4 about accessibility in rural and urban areas, also referred to the maximisation of mobile units.

The Chair asked the Committee if they would accept the inclusion of an extra item in the list of concerns, that is, the need for the mobile units.

Mr de Villiers asked if he could discuss the Home Affairs budget with his Democratic Alliance study group before voting on the Budget Report. However, Ms Mncube pointed out that he had not been at the initial meeting and that he should have taken that opportunity (after that meeting) to have the discussion with the study group.

Mr Plaatjie asked that other members should help Mr de Villiers to understand the concerns of the Budget Report because it would be going to the vote in the NCOP Chamber the next day. It should be possible to support the budget if it included certain items but then also to register a protest about some other items for which there was a shortfall.

Mr de Villiers explained again that his absence was due to Parliament using incorrect contact details to reach him. The DA had already decided they would give their stand on the Budget after the vote. If the Committee decided to approve the Budget, the DA would not give their approval.

Ms Makgate pointed out that the vote on 1 July would be given as a vote from the provinces, not from the parties.

Ms Mncube moved for the adoption of the Report with a seventh point to be added, about the mobile units, as an amendment.

Ms N Magadla (ANC) seconded the motion.

The Chairperson closed the meeting.


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