Department of Home Affairs briefing on Budget and Strategic Plan

NCOP Health and Social Services

12 April 2010
Chairperson: Ms R Rasmeni (ANC; North West)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA), gave a presentation to the Committee on its Strategic Plan 2010-11 and 2012-13. The presentation gave an overview of the progress that the Department had made during the previous two financial years, as well as the challenges it faced. In terms of progress, a new passport system was implemented in April 2009 and security features were improved on birth certificates. There was a reduction of the backlog of late registrations of births (LRB) and the campaign to eradicate this was still continuing. Fifteen new Home Affairs offices were opened. It became possible to do birth and death registration online at 119 hospitals. An asset management system was implemented. The Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) became operational. The turnaround time for receiving documents improved dramatically in the case of some offices. Key challenges included ensuring that all children were registered at birth and applied for an ID document when they turned 16, separating economic migrants from asylum seekers, outdated document management systems and the need for controls around people and systems to achieve a clean audit.

The DHA outlined expected expenditure in its budget presentation and how much revenue it expected to collect from each respective province. It set out its goal to provide further autonomy to provincial Department offices in order to further improve service delivery and cut down on bureaucracy. It outlined its proposed expenditure for different projects it had proposed for 2010. The Department stressed the importance of avoiding qualified financial audits.

Members asked about space provisions in hospitals and what the Department would do to improve registration of new-born babies in remote areas. Members asked about the centralisation of power at the national head office with regard to revenue distribution and collection and asked whether this was helpful to the improvement of services provided by the Department. Members sought clarity on the level of interaction between the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Public Works with regard to obtaining extra office space where the Department needed to expand its operations.

They sought clarity on the level of participation of the Department of Defence in stopping the influx of illegal immigrants at border posts. They asked whether the Department was in control of the issuing of birth certificates to illegal immigrant babies born on South African soil. They asked about the Department’s role in the Human Trafficking bill which is still pending finalization.

Meeting report

Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Strategic Plan and budget, 2010-2011
Mr Mkuseli Apleni, Director General, DHA, briefed the Committee on the vision, mission and values of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA or the Department).
The DHA was the custodian, protector and verifier of the identity and status of citizens and other persons resident in South Africa as recorded on the National Population Register. The DHA also controlled and facilitated immigration and the traffic of people through ports of entry. The central role of the DHA in society was to ensure the security of the State.

The presentation included an overview of the progress the DHA had made during the 2009-2010 period as well as the challenges it faced in executing its functions (see document for full details). The main area of progress lay in improvements in the different measures and technologies to prevent identity document, birth certificate and passport fraud. Another area was the Advanced Passenger Processing, piloted during the Confederations Cup, and being implemented for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. The main challenge remained to ensure that all South Africans were issued birth certificates before their first birthday, and applied for identity documents when they turned sixteen.

The DHA was working towards three national outcomes. In the first instance it was aiming for a secured South African citizenship and identity. Secondly, it was aiming to manage immigration effectively and securely in the national interest. Thirdly, it was aiming to become a service that was efficient, accessible and free from corruption.

It aimed to allocate sufficient funding for each of its projects set to improve service delivery. This includes R2.5 million for the Volunteer program, R22.7 million for Mission Coverage, R10.1 million for Communication Outreach, R11.1 million for On Board Clearance, R62 million for Joint Border Clearance, R5 million for the Airline Liaison Officer and R6 million for the Operations Centre.

The DHA sought to provide R2.1 billion for the Head Office, R615 957 million for projects, R1.25 billion for provinces, R140 784 for the devolution of funds, R55 million for the Film and Publication Board, R97 million for government printing works, and R1.4 billion for the Independent Electoral Commission.

The Department outlined expected expenditure for each province in the 2010-11 periods;
Eastern Cape: R140 281 million
Free State: R102 164 million
Gauteng: R278 365 million
KwaZulu-Natal: R155 916 million
Limpopo: R144 210 million
Mpumalanga: R109 107 million
North West: R132 162 million
Northern Cape: R62 797 million
Western Cape: R125 603 million

The Department collected R429 489 million in the 2009-10 fiscal period and expected to collect R455 256 in revenue for 2010-11.


The Chairperson welcomed the Department’s presentation and briefing. She asked about space provisions in hospitals and what the Department would do to improve registration of new-born babies in remote areas. She asked why the surrounds of government buildings housing Department employees always seemed unkempt and littered. She said that the attitude of some of the employees of the Department needed to be readjusted if the Department was to be successful in its future endeavours.

Mr Mkhize said that obtaining office space in hospitals was still an obstacle.  But the Department had obtained a letter from the Acting Director General in the Department of Health authorizing the Department of Home Affairs to have staff in hospitals to monitor births and carry out registrations where necessary. He said that IT integration at hospitals also presented a challenge in the Department reaching its goals in hospitals. He said that high volume hospitals had been identified and efforts were being redoubled to increase Home Affairs staff presence at such hospitals and employing roving staff for lower volume hospitals. He said that the surrounds of Department housing buildings were the responsibility of the Department staff at these buildings and they would be encouraged vigorously to look after the sanitation of their surrounds.   

Mr S Plaatjie (COPE; North West) asked what informed the Department’s procurement of revenue to the national head office and why provincial offices did not have more autonomy with the revenue they collected in their regions. He sought clarity on the level of interaction between the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Public Works with regard to obtaining extra office space where the Department needed to expand its operations. He said that the Department’s proposal on live capturing of individuals for the issuing of identity documents was a laudable step.

Mr Apleni said that the Department wanted to decentralise office procurement of revenue and would do so by a process of empowering provincial offices further and allowing them the freedom to operate more efficiently within the bounds set out by the Department. He said that the Department needed to work more closely with the Department of Public Works in order to streamline and improve the allocation of buildings for Department use.  

Mr M De Villiers (DA; Western Cape) asked what the Department of Home Affairs was doing to coordinate with the Department of Defence on stopping the influx of illegal immigrants at South African border posts. He asked whether there was policy in place to prevent the issuance of birth certificates to illegal immigrant babies born in South Africa. He asked what services the Department offered to people in rural and remote locations without direct access to the Department. He asked whether the new registration initiative on identity documents would carryon from now until the next election period.

Mr Vusi Mkhize, Deputy Director General: Civic Services, DHA, said that the Department had embarked on an initiative to take services to the people via the use of mobile units which would travel to remote areas and provide services where needed, he said that 45 vehicles had been purchased for this specific task. He said that illegal immigrant children were recorded as part of the population registry but not as part of the citizenry register and said that that process was controlled.

Mr Jackson McKay, Deputy Director General: Immigration Services, DHA, said that the Department of Defence was required to apprehend or stop illegal immigrants without proper documentation and send them to the Department which would then either deport the immigrant or provide documents should the immigrant qualify for them. He said that citizens must have identification outside of election periods and the Department had launched advocacy campaigns to assist those without identification documents so that they may obtain them. He said it was especially important to register 16 year old first timers with no identity documents besides their birth certificates.

The Chairperson asked about the Department’s role in the Human Trafficking bill which is still pending finalization. She asked what the Department had done to curb Human Trafficking and which personnel served on the Human Trafficking committees set up by government to prevent/curb the spread of the crime.

Mr McKay said that the Department played a role in the debate on the Human Trafficking Bill through the intergovernmental committee setup to weigh the merits of the Bill, but he noted that the Bill was a Department of Justice initiative. He said that the Department had border guards trained by a Non Governmental Organisation on how to pick up on Human Trafficking victims and that the Department had embarked on a campaign to promote awareness of Human Trafficking.

The Chairperson asked about the progress on the Smartcard Identification project and requested that the Department accelerate on implementation of this project.

Mr De Villiers (DA; Western Cape) requested a report from the Department on the Smartcard Identification project. He asked whether the Department monitored illegal miners without proper identification.

Mr Apleni said that the Smartcard Identification project was on hold until August this year when a new proposal would be sent to the Treasury in order to reopen the project and start implementation.

Mr McKay said that spot checks on mines were regularly conducted and the legality of employees was checked, he said that illegal miners were deported and the process forms part of the inspectorate branch of the Department. He said that officers from the Department were sent to under-serviced areas as a matter of priority.     

The meeting was adjourned.


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