The Committee received a briefing from Provincial Managers in the Department of Home Affairs. The presentations focused on the state of the Department’s provincial offices after the first quarter in
The Limpopo Provincial Office highlighted the Department’s presence/footprint across the
Amongst some of the challenges confronting the Provincial Office, was the non functionality of municipal offices, the non connectivity at small offices, delays in finalising death duplicate cases at head office, insufficient computers for use (Officers sharing), staff deployment to head office (Expenses on Office of origin’s budget), system downtimes due to cable theft and ID vetting delays amongst other challenges. Amongst some of the achievements the Provincial Office there was the appointment of key staff, the delivery of IDs by door-to-door, the appointment of the Director for Finance and Support, the appointment of 61 Front Office Clerks and deployment to hospitals, the appointment of the Provincial Manager and allocation of the budget to relocate 11 dilapidated and /or uninhabitable offices to new locations.
The Gauteng Provincial Office highlighted its presence in the province. The Department had been ranked second in the list of provinces with the fastest turnaround time with respect to IDs being dispatched from head office and sent to the provincial office. The provincial office was ranked sixth with respect to turnaround times on delivery of ID to applicant. The provincial office was ranked third in turnaround times for informing an ID applicant of the status of their application. The Provincial Office had visited 209 schools in lieu of its ID campaign out of a target of 200 thereby exceeding the target. It had received 8903 applications from the schools it had visited. The Department had dealt with 2 426 incoming immigrants in the first quarter, extended 16 104 Section 22 permits and issued 161 refugee IDs. The Provincial Office had filled 1509 vacancies and had 188 unfilled posts (89% filled).
The Provincial Office had been allocated R339 million for 2011/12 and had thus far spent R108 million representing 33% expenditure in the first quarter. The Provincial Office had a number of corruption and fraud cases which were undergoing due process and pending rulings. Amongst some of the Provincial Office’s challenges, it listed the overcrowding of the main refugee reception centre Marabastad due to the closure of Crown Mines, the delayed completion of cases, the backlog of unresolved queries such as duplicates, amendments, unabridged certificates, confirmation letters and naturalisations and the indecision on the naming of children upon birth leading to issues with the LRB 30 day provision.
The Mpumalanga Provincial Office had a presence in nine Thusong Service Centres, eleven mobile units and connected in eight hospitals in the province. The Provincial Office had installed electronic queue management systems in two offices in the province. The system gave an estimated waiting time for customers and indicated the number of customers waiting in line to be served. The Department had taken on an initiative involving the Phelophepa health train. The train normally provided health services to rural areas but had incorporated other Government Departments this year in order to provide services to remote communities.+
The Provincial Office had been earmarked to be the lead in a pilot project. The Executive Management Committee had identified the need for the Provincial Office to embark on a project aimed at documenting all the immigrant communities and families who live in and around the borders of the
Members asked about the various Provincial Offices asset registers and their status. They asked about the influx of immigrants at Lebombo border post. They queried why the various presentations did not tie in with the Department’s strategic plan. They asked what was being done to fill vacancies. They asked whether there was policy in place to tackle corruption and illegal crossings at border posts. They commented that Department should not place the employment of female employees above the provision of services to the average citizen. They commented on the profiling of immigrant communities.
Mr Major Kobese, Head of Policy in the Office of the Director General: Department of Home Affairs, thanked the Committee for inviting the Department. In the coming weeks the Department would have the other Provinces brief the Committee on their annual quarterly reports. The Department was in the process of filling the vacant provincial manager positions with a view to the Minister of Home Affairs’ stated objective of obtaining a 60%-40% split in favour of female employees.
Briefing by the Limpopo Provincial Manager
Ms Florah Motsitsi, Provincial Manager for
Ms Motsitsi highlighted the Department’s presence/footprint across the
The Department had received a total of 1.9 million immigrants at its various border posts in the first quarter. The Department’s inspectorate had arrested 862 people in relation to immigration; it had detained 818 people, deported 759 people and prosecuted 21 of its employees. The Department had made several gains in the first quarter, including the opening of 5new district offices, 21 local offices, 20 small offices and 7 branch offices at various Thusong Service Centres in the province. The Department was continuing to work to improve service delivery with 21 out of 45 Health Centres connected in the first quarter with two in Mopani and Sekhukhune being the most recently connected. The Department had negotiated to occupy space at a further 14 hospitals.
As part of the Department’s outreach programme, it had visited 655 schools and received 11 574 ID applications, 390 LRB applications and had distributed 3712 IDs. The Department had also worked to resolve the issue of duplicate IDs, having received 194 duplicates from head office and returned 256 duplicates to head office. The Department had also established a digital complaints database to assist in improving access to the Department. There had been 334 complaints received on the database with 20 thus far finalised. The Department had 201 vacancies, 180 funded and 21 unfunded.
Mr Matshaya Thifhelimbilu, Director of Finance for
Amongst some of the challenges confronting the Department, was the non functionality of municipal offices, the non connectivity at small offices, delays in finalising death duplicate cases at head office, insufficient computers for use (Officers sharing), staff deployment to head office (Expenses on Office of origin’s budget), system downtimes due to cable theft and ID vetting delays amongst other challenges.
Some of the achievements included the appointment of key staff, the delivery of IDs by door-to-door, the appointment of the Director for Finance and Support, the appointment of 61 Front Office Clerks and deployment to hospitals, the appointment of the Provincial Manager and allocation of budget to relocate 11 dilapidated and /or uninhabitable Offices to new offices.
Briefing by the Gauteng Provincial Manager
Ms Lerato Afilaka, District Manager for Operations for the
The Department highlighted its presence in the province. The Department had nine offices in
The Department had thus far secured six accommodative places out of twenty-five health facilities in
Ms Pumeza Mdwara, Director of Finance and Support for
Amongst some of the Department’s challenges, it listed the overcrowding of the main refugee reception centre Marabastad due to the closure of Crown Mines, the delayed completion of cases, the backlog of unresolved queries such as duplicates, amendments, unabridged certificates, confirmation letters and naturalisations and the indecision on the naming of children upon birth leading to issues with the LRB 30 day provision.
Briefing by the Mpumalanga Provincial Manager
Mr Robert Zitha, Acting Provincial Manager for
Mr Zitha highlighted the Department’s presence across the province. The Department had one provincial office, three local offices, twenty-one medium local offices, and thirty small local offices. The Department had a presence in nine Thusong Service Centres, eleven mobile units and connected in eight hospitals in the province. The Department had run a mobile unit campaign in which 10 Mobile Units each with a full teams consisting of a Mobile Unit Operator, full LRB committee and 3 clerks had been in
The Department had installed electronic queue management systems in two offices in the province. The system gave an estimated waiting time for customers and indicated the number of customers waiting in line to be served. It added a professional impression to the Department’s dealings with the public. The Department had taken on an initiative involving the Phelophepa health train, (“Phelophepa” combined elements of Sotho and Tswana to roughly translate to mean “good, clean health”). The train had been in
The Department had been earmarked to be the lead in a pilot project. The Executive Management Committee (EMC) had identified the need for the Department to embark on a project aimed at documenting all the immigrant communities and families who live in and around the borders of the
The Department had held 18 Stakeholder forums in local and district municipalities. The Province was currently in the process of meeting with the Local and
Mr Milingoni Nemutshili, Director of Finance and Support for
Amongst some of the challenges the Department faced included the challenges brought on by a shortage of staff service points which were only being visited once per week instead of permanently. Hospital offices were not fully operational as a result. There were challenges around LRB as applicants did not show up for interviews, and did not have all the necessary documents. The influx of illegal foreign nationals through the porous borders was a challenge as well as the opening of Thusong Centres without the involvement of Home Affairs. The existing offices were not according to Department specifications, and human capacity was neither available nor equipped to work in those Centres.
The Chairperson asked whether the door-to-door delivery of IDs by youths was not illegal. She sought details on the asset register which was not mentioned in any of the presentations. She asked how much was being spent on allowances for “Acting Managers”.
Ms Motsitsi replied that the door-to-door delivery of IDs was done by youths who were employed by the DHA and was therefore legal.
Mr Kobese replied that Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Home Affairs had stated that she would not sign paycheques for “Acting” officials as the Department sought to tackle the problem by appointing permanent staff.
Mr Thifhelimbilu replied that
Ms Afilaka replied that the asset register manager had yet to be appointed in
Ms Mdwara added that there had been minor issues with respect to the asset register in relation to specifying assets and movement of assets on the floor without being noted on the register.
Mr Nemutshili replied that the province had no outstanding asset register issues and was working to address vacancies.
Ms P Maduna-Petersen (ANC) asked why Vhembe district had 18 offices whilst Capricorn only had 10. She asked whether the deportation numbers in
Ms Motsitsi responded that the Department was not paying rental at all 18 offices in Vhembe and could therefore afford to have more offices in that district as opposed to Capricorn where it was paying for all accommodation in all 10 offices.
Ms Afilaka replied that demarcations were set out in line with municipal boundaries.
Ms T Gasebonwe (ANC) asked about security in
Ms Afilaka replied that it had outsourced security at some of its offices to a private security company with service level agreements.
Ms Motsitsi responded that the
Mr M Mnqasela (DA) commented that the focus in combating corruption should be on the vetting process. It was important that a speedy and efficient vetting system be undertaken. It appeared that corruption was not only affecting the Department of Home Affairs but pervaded other government Departments as well. He asked why there were pending cases across all the presentations. He said that he supported the approach to appointing female employees as part of an effort to achieve transformation; however that could not be done at the expense of the public and the people who sought and required public service. The progress around vacancies was slow and a fast track approach needed to be undertaken especially towards funded vacancies. The Committee had a responsibility to assist in securing more funding for the Department.
Mr Kobese responded that the problems with the vetting process rested with State Security as it took between 4 and 6 months to vet a potential employee. Every position that existed in the Department had a timeline attached to it and regardless of what gender the Department was looking to fill the position, the general public would not suffer as the vacant position was temporarily filled.
Ms Motsitsi responded that corruption was a pervasive issue but was being addressed through the appointment of dedicated personnel to tackle the issue. Corruption cases were being dealt with by head office and the Department was working to fill vacancies within its ranks.
Ms A Lovemore (DA) voiced her frustration at being limited to asking only three questions due to time constraints. The Committee needed to have full interaction with the DHA Provincial Office representatives. She commented that none of the presentations tied up with DHA priorities as stated in the Department’s strategic plan. There was no mention of timelines and no measure of turnaround times. She asked why the number of duplicate IDs in
Mr Kobese replied that head office did not want to dictate to Provincial Offices on what they should include or exclude as they were given a certain amount of autonomy. He noted that the lack of timelines in the presentations and the weaknesses in the presentations. He promised that further engagements with other provinces would not have the same deficiencies. The issue of duplicate IDs was a serious problem at a national level. A task team had been set up to look into the issue of duplicate IDs led by the Civic Services branch. The Director for Civic Services may accompany other provincial offices set to brief the Committee to give a status update on the progress of the Department on the duplication issue. The profiling of immigrant communities had arisen as a result of the Deputy President’s visit to Provincial Offices. The project was in pilot form in
Ms Motsitsi replied that the number of duplicate cases was high but that the Provincial Office had asked for a person to be sent from the head office to assist with addressing the issue in
Ms Afilaka replied that the Provincial Office recognised the need to capacitate itself across the board and was working hard to fill vacancies, especially those that were funded.
Ms H Makhuba (IFP) asked whether the ID application system had changed since the increase in prices for IDs. She asked whether the Provincial Offices were facing a problem with IDs not being collected after being produced. She asked what the Provincial Offices were doing to address duplication of IDs and how death related duplications were handled.
Mr Kobese replied that the issue of duplicate IDs was a serious problem at a national level. A task team had been set up to look into the issue of duplicate IDs led by the Civic Services branch. The Director for Civic Services may accompany other provincial offices set to brief the Committee to give a status update on the progress of the Department on the duplication issue.
Ms Motsitsi responded that there had been a lowering of applications for reissuance of IDs since the tariff increase on IDs.
Ms Afilaka responded that the Department was addressing the issue of duplicate IDs through various means including conducting assessments of whether individuals who had several IDs in their names were alive.
Mr G McIntosh (COPE) commented that he had been impressed by the three Provincial Office presentations which the Committee had received. He asked how the Mpumalanga Office chose its locations for some of its offices in the province. He asked whether an impact assessment had been down prior to the closing of the Crown Mines refugee reception centre in
Ms Afilaka responded that Crown Mines had been closed down to complaints by surrounding businesses in the area about the clientele attracted to the area by the location of the refugee centre. Refugee centres would be moved closer to the border as part of the Department’s broader reassessment of refugee centres.
Mr Zitha responded that the CSIR had assisted in the setting up of Provincial Office locations across the province.
Ms N Mnisi (ANC) asked whether there was any legislation in place to enforce the naming of a child upon birth so as to circumvent the violation of the LRB 30 day provision in the Births and Deaths Amendment Act of 2010. She asked how many port of entries in
Mr Kobese replied that there was no legislation which forced a child to be named at birth and different cultural and religious factors played a part in the delay in naming a child.
Mr Zitha replied that there was more expenditure on goods and services and less on employees due to the vacancies in the provincial office.
Ms K Rwexana (COPE) asked whether there were any monitoring mechanisms in place with regard to revenue collected by the Provincial Offices. She asked whether there was a turnaround strategy in place to address the situation in Gauteng with respect to refugees in the province. She asked what mechanisms were in place to prevent corruption at the Lebombo border post in light of the numbers of people that crossed through the post. She commented that an Equality Bill should be fast tracked through parliament to address issues of gender equality in the country.
Ms Afilaka responded that refugee centres would be moved closer to border as part of the Department’s broader reassessment of refugee centres. The Provincial Office did have a strategy in place with respect to the collection of IDs, which would be addressed via the use of mobile units. The problem had also been addressed by the hike in tariffs on ID applications.
Mr Zitha replied that measures were in place to prevent corruption with the Border Coordinating Control Board meeting on a fortnightly basis to address the threat of corruption at Lebombo amongst other places.
Mr J Thibedi (ANC) commented that there should be a focus on rural areas and stakeholder forums in attempting to address the question of birth registration. He asked whether the influx at Lebombo sometimes led to illegal crossings. He commented that the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) should play a role in the prevention of cable theft at border posts.
Mr Zitha responded that there was the possibility of illegal border crossings but that the Provincial Office worked in coordination with security officials and the police to set up road blocks to stop illegal immigrants from crossing.
Ms Afilaka replied that stakeholder forums were being undertaken and work was being done to improve the forums.
The meeting was adjourned.
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